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  • Writer's pictureJanelle Safford

The Heart Before The Head

  Attempting to change the established actions, minds or attitudes of a group of people, in any capacity, will always be difficult, and can sometimes even feel impossible.  However, after reviewing  Dr. Kotter's videos, I again have a glimmer of hope that small changes can be made if I approach it with the right attitude. 

     Dr. John Kotter is a Harvard Business professor and New York Times best selling author and speaker on the topics of leadership and change.  In his video,  he explains that “to change behavior we must put far more effort into causing people to feel differently than we do into causing people to think differently.” (Kotter, 2011).  This indicates that we must find a way to appeal to a collective need for change that is important to everyone in the organization on a personal level. I believe that when Dr. Kotter is discussing “urgency” he is actually talking about establishing a collective goal that is high on everyone's priority level. A goal or cause that everyone can get behind because they believe it is necessary and they believe in the reasons it is necessary.  Even if you manage to get people to agree that change is needed, keeping them interested and on board for the long term will depend on the emotional connection and personal commitment of the individuals that make up the organization.

With this in mind, I plan to focus less on facts and research and more on WHY providing a more personalized learning environment for our students through blended learning will benefit both the teachers and students of my district. This will require organizational change and a shift in thinking about the role of the teacher and the responsibility of the student.  I hope to appeal to the overall desire of the teachers and administrators in my district to  support our student's futures. Sometimes influencing change feels like trying to climb Mount Everest. It is difficult to know how to influence an organization when people inherently avoid change, but I plan to strap on my hiking boots and start climbing.  

Steinberger, S. (2010). Mount Everest photograph. Licensed under Creative Commons at

John Kotter - The Heart of Change

Leading Change: Establish a Sense of Urgency


Asacker, Tom. [TEDX Talks]. (2014, June 30). Why TED Talks don't change people's behaviors: Tom Asacker at TEDxCambridge 2014 [video file].

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Kotter, John. [Dr. John Kotter]. (2011, March 23). The Heart of Change. [Video file].

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