This post is the second in the series of dealing with the Planning, Implementation and Evaluation of interventions. The first can be found here.
I’ll be solely concerned with the Implementation phase in this article.
Getting started can be the hardest thing. For example, when starting this blog I agonised over trivial matters and procrastinated with no good reason. Once the first blog was published, the boulder had been moved – even if just by a millimetre. Now close to 100 blogs later, the momentum and habit have been established. I’m on a roll, guys!
There will be no one decisive action that leads to successful interventions – it’s more a case of cumulative decisions which lead to overall impact. The Japanese philosophy of kai-zen comes to mind. Instead of looking for the home run, aim to bat a steady innings over time.
Invariably, planning interventions can be fun: the buzz of an inspiring brainstorming session; the blue-sky thinking which stokes the fire or the endless possibilities which are shiny and alluring. But the real work happens when ideas are acted upon.
This leads me to deal with the who of intervention implementation.
Leaders often give very little thought as to who will do what. Before any implementation session is closed, ensure lines of responsibility are clearly demarcated. If there is a task which has not been assigned to a particular person, ensure this is recorded and acknowledge that this must be returned to at a later date. Some ideas might be worthwhile but perhaps there’s just not enough time at present or you are unsure whether they will work. I find it helpful to have a ‘parked’ section – something we will implement, just not yet.
The next step of implementation is when. Think of the Chinese proverb – the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is today. Don’t spend too much time in the planning. Just get the job done and move as swiftly as you can. School terms seem to vaporise rapidly! The last thing you want to be doing is standing around at the end of the year muttering ‘how did we get here without much progress?’
Finally, I advise to think in terms of systems as opposed to individuals. For example, imagine you wish to emphasise a new value in your school, respect for instance. You may be inclined to think that Heads of Years or Senior Leaders will be key drivers. Although this may be true, a systems thinking approach may focus on Form Time, assemblies and PSHE as key parts of the overall ‘machine’. You quickly realise that this approach is more sustainable and impactful as it’s not contingent upon individuals, but rather the system as a whole.
Remember, interventions need monitoring and management. This is where regular check-ins and progress updates can be valuable. I am a fan of stand-up briefings which provide a forum for status updates as well as sharing roadblocks which hinder progress.
The final phase of this three part series will deal with evaluating interventions.