I have to be forward for a second.

(I know, you’re probably thinking something like, “Um, when is she NOT forward?”) 

I heard recently from a longtime client of ours – they are transitioning from their core and intervention program implementation into the Common Core.  We have outlined the plan that they’ll follow that will help them hang onto the things that are getting results and serving their kids well.  We also outlined what needed to go and why.  We worked through the role that the leadership would take to accomplish their plan.  We outlined the role that the coaches would take to accomplish the plan.  We outlined the plan for what teachers would do each month – and we outlined how the teachers would be supported as they carried out the “aligning the core” work.

So, I bet you can imagine why I am more than a bit shocked that they are abandoning the plan.

I’m not invested in MY plan.  I’m invested in THEIR plan.

Here’s the deal: ultimately, in a consulting role, I have no power.  I try to act like I have more power than I do (ha!) and most times the perception is that I do have quite a bit of power to “make” people do things.

But in the end, I have no power to make people carry through the work that we’ve outlined and supported them in doing.  They have to be committed.  Even when it’s tough.  Even when there’s resistance.  Even when someone says that they have a shortcut.  Even then!

The thing that I just can’t even imagine is this: all of the folks that were in the meetings where we created the plan, all of the folks who essentially signed on the dotted line, all of the folks who were there nodding their heads and giving their ideas for the plan DIDN’T SPEAK UP when the plan was disappearing before their very eyes!

Yep – several folks have called and emailed me and said, “You’d just die!  We’re changing the whole plan!” and my first words out of my mouth were, “Did you speak up?”

The answer was no.  They didn’t speak up.

So here’s my thought: it’s time to start maturing in our professionalism enough so that we can protect the work that we’ve outlined and committed to.  We protect the work and the plan by SPEAKING UP when something or someone comes along from within and outside of the organization and tries to shake things up for no apparent reason.

Every time we commit and then promptly abandon the plan and change course, we kill our opportunity to build capacity in the organization…and we just plain wear people out.

So I’m going to step back – unfortunately this will be one of the cases where this client will have to learn on their own.  Unfortunate for them.  And very unfortunate for their leadership team who were so proud of the plan that they created.

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.
Pablo Picasso