Principles of Change: Provide a way of understanding how people typically respond to, or think about change.

Professional Learning Communities (PLC): It is important to develop a Professional Learning Community (PLC) in your school before entering a change initiative because of the impact a school’s culture can have on the success of the change initiative.

Change Facilitator Styles: When a change is being implemented, there are many things that can have an impact on the success of the implementation. For this reason, it is important to consider the change facilitator’s leadership style, referred to as CF Style.

Interventions: Having a better understanding of interventions can help a change facilitator to improve the chances of the change initiative being successful.

Intervention Mushrooms: There are a large variety of interventions that occur during a change initiative, some are useful while others can have a detrimental effect on the change initiative. Intervention mushrooms are interventions that tend to “pop up” during the change implementation­ and can be either helpful or detrimental.

Principles of change

Hall and Hord (2011) discovered the 10 Principles of Change during a long-term collaborative research project. While conducting their research, they noted that several patterns were repeating across schools and staff when a change initiative was introduced. The Principles of Change, as they became known, provide a way of understanding how people typically respond to or think about change.

While reading about the Principles of  Change, please keep in mind that they are not mutually exclusive. Also, these ten principles do not cover all aspects of change.

10 Principles of change

  1.  Change is Learning:
    • When change is introduced, learning needs to occur to make the change possible.
    • Those involved need to learn about the change, and learn new skills to make the change possible.
  2. Change is a Process, Not an Event:
    • According to Hall and Hord (2011) “Change is a process through which people and organizations move as they gradually learn, come to understand, and become skilled and competent in the use of new ways.”
    • When change is thought of as an event, time for learning is no longer available and the change may not be implemented 100% effectively.
    • Change can take up to, if not more than, five years to become implemented effectively. If one is thinking of change as an event, they may expect the change to occur overnight, and become discouraged and give up when this doesn’t happen.
  3. The School is the Primary Unit for Change:
    • Staff and leaders at the school can make or break any change effort.
    • Sometimes schools may need outside support when implementing a change initiative in order to make the change successful. Staff members who know how to access and utilize those resources will, most likely, experience a smoother change initiative than those who do not seek those additional resources.
  4.  Organizations Adopt Change – Individuals Implement Change:
    • Successful change starts and ends at the individual level.
    • People will adjust to and learn aspects of the change at different levels of understanding, investment, and time.
    • Hall and Hord (2011) stress the importance of moving slowly from the current practice to the new practice (practice that includes the change initiative) rather than leaping from one to the other. In their text, Implementing Change, they refer to this idea as an implementation bridge. Individuals need to start at one side of the bridge, and with support from leaders, slowly move to the other side of the bridge.
  5.  Interventions are Key to the Success of the Change:
    • Interventions refer to the actions and events that the change implementers could take to influence the process of the change initiative.
    • Remember that the little interventions tend to be the most important, and they are also commonly forgotten or overlooked.
  6. Appropriate interventions Reduce Resistance to Change:
    • Sometimes people may be resistant to change; however, if the right intervention is implemented this resistance can be reduced or eliminated.
    • In order to find the appropriate intervention one must first determine the reason behind the intervention. There are numerous things that could cause one to be resistant to change including: grief, limited knowledge, and questioning the change. Each of these concerns requires different forms of support and therefore requires different interventions.
  7. Administrator Leadership is Essential to Long-Term Changes
    • When implementing bottom-up change, many people tend to believe that those closest to the change have the greatest impact on the success of the change. However, this is not always the case; the change will not prosper without administrative support.
  8. Facilitating Change is a Team Effort
    • It is important to make sure that everyone involved in the change initiative is doing their part. The process of change will go a lot smoother if everyone is doing their share and their part.
  9. Mandates Can Work
    • Mandates can be used to provide clear priorities and can communicate expectations regarding the change initiative to everyone involved.
  10. The Context Influences the Process of Learning and Change
    • The context, or environment, that the change initiative is being implemented within can have an impact on the learning and change process.
    • There are two main components of context that have an influence on the change initiative progress: physical features and people factors.
      • Physical features include the resources, policies, structures, and schedules that shape the workplace environment.
      • People factors include attitudes, beliefs, values, relationships, and norms that tend to guide staff members’ behavior  within the workplace.

Professional learning communities (PLC)

Dimensions needed to develop a PLC

According to Hall and Hord (2011), schools with a culture that is not open to change will not have success in implementing a change initiative. Research has indicated the importance of a group of five dimensions when developing a PLC. These five dimensions of a PLC serve as guidelines to creating an environment conducive of implementing change initiatives. Also, keep in mind that these dimensions are interactive.

  • Shared Values and Vision
  • Intentional Collective Learning and Application
  • Supportive and Shared Leadership
  • Supportive Conditions
  • Shared Personal Practice

Factors needed to develop a PLC

In order to have a PLC in your school, it is important to also make sure that the organization itself is interested in change initiatives or making improvements. Research has found that in order for an organization to become interested in change or improvements, the following five factors must be present:

  • Systems Thinking
  • Building a Shared Vision
  • Personal Mastery
  • Mental Models
  • Team Learning

Visit our Professional Learning Communities website to learn more about PLCs and Collaborative Learning Teams (CLTs).

Change facilitator (CF) styles

So far we have discussed how individuals’ Levels of Use and Stages of Concern can have an impact on the change initiative. Both of these concepts focus on the individuals that are involved in implementing the change initiative rather than those in charge of the decision to make the change: the change facilitator or leader.

Although the CF Styles typically apply to leaders, the styles can be applied to everyone involved in the change initiative as well. Learn about the Three Main Change Facilitator Styles.

Teacher performance

  • According to research conducted by Hall and Hord (2011), teachers who have leaders with the Initiator CF Style have the highest level of change initiative implementation.
  • Those who have supervisors with a Manager CF Style are still relatively successful in implementing a change initiative; however, they are not as successful as those who have supervisors with an Initiator CF Style.
  • Teachers whose supervisors have a Responder CF Style are the least successful when implementing a change initiative. They tend to lag behind and the implementation process will take a greater amount of time than it would for teachers whose supervisors have an Initiator or Manager CF Style.

Student outcomes

  • Teachers are not the only ones affected by their supervisor’s CF Style. Even though students may not have much direct contact with the supervisors of their building, their supervisors’ actions still have an impact on their achievement level.
  • According to Hall and Hords’ (2011) research, students with high test scores often had supervisors that had an Initiator or Manager CF Style. More specifically, students with high scores in reading and writing had supervisors with an Initiator CF Style. Students with high scores in math had supervisors with a Manager CF Style. Students who had supervisors with a Responder CF Style tended to score significantly lower in all tested subjects than students whose supervisors had an Initiator or Manager CF Style.

What makes a good leader:

Six dimensions of CF style

Three main change facilitator styles

Although these are the main three CF Styles that are discussed in relation to CBAM, it is imperative to remember that the following three styles do not represent all possible leadership styles.

Initiator change facilitators

  • Individuals who have this CF style tend to have strong and clear visions of the envisioned change. They encourage their staff (or fellow coworkers) throughout the change initiative to implement the change to their best ability.
  • At the same time, individuals with the Initiator CF style who mean well may push too hard; leading others to feel uncomfortable and pressured. In addition, they may find themselves constantly questioning themselves and others actions; unsure if they were the best actions for the success of the innovation.

Manager change facilitators

  • Those who are Manager Change Facilitators are a bit more apprehensive of change initiatives than the Initiator Change Facilitators. These individuals tend to delay change initiatives so they have more time to research the proposed innovation.
  • Manager Change Facilitators show high concern for the budget and available resources when considering a change initiative. In addition, they do not like to delegate tasks to others, and prefer, instead, to complete the work themselves.

Responder change facilitators

  • Those individuals who have a Responder Change Facilitator style are very focused on what is currently occurring. They are typically lacking on ideas for future changes or innovations.
  • Unlike the Manager CF Style, Responders do not have any issues with delegating tasks. In fact, individuals with a Responder CF Style would prefer to let others take on the work load. In addition, these individuals tend to minimize the importance of change innovations and will put off making decisions about them.

With a basic understanding of the three CF Styles, we can now discuss how these styles would have an impact on the success of the change initiative as well as an impact on the motivation of the staff involved in the initiative, and the students.

Six dimensions of CF style

The six dimensions of CF Style are used to better describe the CF Styles. In addition, they represent important components of each CF Style; helping us to better understand what makes a good leader. The six dimensions are split into three clusters: Concern for People, Organizational Efficiency, and Strategic Sense.

Concern for people cluster:

  1. Social/Informal: The Social/Informal dimension looks at the amount of time supervisors spend having non-work related conversations with the staff members of the building. These social conversations are not related to any change initiative and are often very personable.
  2. Formal/Meaningful: The Formal/Meaningful dimension focuses on conversations that are similar to one-legged interviews. A supervisor who is strong in this dimension has conversations with the staff that are focused on a specific change initiative. In addition, they tend to implement many small interventions based on the needs of their staff that they learn about during these conversations

Organization efficiency cluster:

  1. Trust in Others: The Trust in Others dimension focuses on whether or not supervisors prefer to delegate tasks to others or if they prefer to do the work themselves. The supervisors’ CF Style will have an impact on which they prefer; managers tend to complete tasks themselves.  Responders will delegate anything possible.
  2. Administrative Efficiency: The Administrative Efficiency dimension looks at what the supervisors view as their primary responsibility. In addition, this dimension looks at how clearly the supervisor assigns and explains tasks to other staff members.

Strategic sense cluster:

  1. Day-to-Day: As previously mentioned, some supervisors are very focused on day-to-day events and do not worry about the long-term consequences. The Day-to-Day dimension explores this very aspect of leadership. Is the leader concerned with day-to-day issues or are they looking into the future for later issues?
  2. Vision and Planning: Parallel to the day-to-day concerns, some leaders always have a vision of the future and work towards that vision. Typically, they know what steps they need to take in order to achieve their vision and they follow those steps in addition to addressing day-to-day issues that arise.


Hall and Hord (2011) define interventions as “any action or event that influences the individual(s) involved or expected to be involved in the process of the change process itself.” Hall and Hord (2011) have provided Six Guiding Principles of Interventions and Six Functions of Interventions to help change facilitators gain a better understanding of interventions.

Six guiding principles of interventions

  • Successful implementation doesn’t just happen.
  • Leaders are not the only ones implementing interventions.
  • Many types of interventions must be utilized to ensure success.
  • Diagnostic tools should be consulted during the intervention implementation process.
  • Interventions need to be targeted to the entire organization.
  • Learning new information and skills is required when implementing a change initiative while planning and implementing interventions necessary for success in the change process.

Six functions of interventions

  1. Developing, articulating, and communicating a shared vision of the intended change:
    • A vision of the future increases student outcomes.
    • The shared vision should be communicated often and during multiple settings.
  2. Planning and providing resources:
    • Planning is not a one-time event; it needs to be repeated throughout the intervention.
  3. Investing in professional learning:
    • Learning is the basic foundation of change, therefore, time must be made for individuals to learn about the change before implementing the change initiative.
  4. Checking on progress:
    • The progress needs to be monitored, and all change efforts can be lost if implementers do not continuously check progress.
    • Use one-legged interviews to stay up-to-date on current progress.
  5. Providing continuous assistance:
    • When needs are identified, a response is required to support the change initiative.
    • Examples of providing assistance include: asking about current progress, answering questions, and helping individuals problem solve while they experience varying LoU.
  6. Creating a context supportive of change:
    • Not only do individuals’ behaviors and attitudes have an effect on change efforts, so do the climate and culture of their school.
    • Taking time to understand the school climate and culture can help encourage a positive environment for change initiatives.

Intervention mushrooms

According to Hall and Hord (2011) “intervention mushrooms are constructed out of the interpretations that each person makes of the unfolding actions and events in a change process.” Most intervention mushrooms arise from a theme (ie: teacher complaint) and in order to address and possibly exterminate the intervention mushroom the theme must be understood.

Positive and negative

Not all intervention mushrooms are bad. There are some that are good and can contribute to the success of the change initiative. These intervention mushrooms should also be researched by change facilitators in order to understand the underlying theme. Once the underlying theme is understood, change facilitators can use this to their advantage and try to help the intervention mushroom spread to other staff members involved in the change initiative.

A relatively simple way to recognize intervention mushrooms before they get out of control is to take time to observe patterns in people’s behavior and actions. These patterns may illustrate an underlying theme that is helping nurture a positive or negative intervention mushroom. Also, it is helpful to understand the relationships between intervention mushrooms, Levels of Use (LoU), and Stages of Concern (SoC). Depending on where people are in their LoU, the chance of an intervention mushroom developing, and the type of intervention mushroom (positive or negative) developing, can change.