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Sustainable Change Requires a Maintenance Plan

We’ve all had that one friend that seems to constantly be trying to obtain a nutritional and exercise goal. One week they eat nothing but vegetables, then the next week are back to having an entire pizza for lunch. The following week they join a gym, go to two spinning classes, then never go again.

This lack of commitment to a complete lifestyle change will never result in accomplishing the goal they desire. But many of our friends have a hard time understanding why they have YET to see consistent results. The statistics say that it takes about 3 or 4 weeks for something to become a habit.

You CANNOT expect to eat right for one week or go to the gym twice and somehow magically obtain your desired goal. That is just unrealistic.

Something equally unrealistic is spending a couple of weeks during the summer to address staff issues that have been plaguing your department, outlining strategic planning and/or team building, only to eventually top all efforts but expect greatness from everyone later in the semester.

How long does it take until the work you put in during summer training is forgotten? About as long as it takes to gain back the 3 pounds you lost while eating nothing but lettuce for one week.

Did you think that change can possibly be sustainable without commitment and hard work? I have contributed to this approach for many years and I will be the first one to tell you honestly… it does not work.

Most leaders believe that staff training is the magical solution and is enough to motivate, keep the staff invested, connected and goal-driven for the entire school year.

This is the “silver bullet approach,” but it’s not effective and does not garner the results that are needed to meet the needs of the staff and student body. Your responsibility as a leader is to invest in your staff’s development so they can do their job to the BEST of their ability.

Think of it this way: your heart does a really important job. If you want to live a long and healthy life, you have to support the health of your heart. You cannot fully support your heart’s health by spending two weeks during the summer eating right and exercising, and then spend the rest of the year eating garbage and moving as little as possible. Your heart cannot do the job it was intended to do with this approach, and your ENTIRE life will suffer as a consequence of your heart disease.

Do not let disease settle into your staff’s morale and skill set. You simply cannot take a silver bullet approach and expect staff cohesion, strong collaboration, goal achievement, motivated staff, exceptional communication, and happy employees.

If I keep following the same script, you will keep getting the same results.

While your summer bootcamp is a great start, sustainable change will require commitment and a maintenance plan.

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