Zigarmi & Kotter’s Mistakes | Student-Led Restorative Practices
Zigarmi's 15 Mistakes

Vision Mistakes

  1. The Need For Change Is Not Communicated
    The first step towards change is to create a sense of urgency in which it is clear why the implementation of restorative practices is necessary. There has to e something in it for people to adopt new practice, especially practice that may fundamentally challenge the way they have done things. In this case, we discuss the need for building the case for change, so the imperative is understood and provides a catalyst for change.
  2. Lack Of Shared Vision
    A clear picture of what you are working towards is required to share this dream. As the person tasked with implementation in your school do you understand what you are working towards and how to take others along the journey? Beyond the school vision for the future, it is about a clear vision for change in terms of how restorative practice will assist your school to improve the imperatives that have been identified; how it underpins the vision.
  3. Lack Of Alignment To Traditional Existing Systems With Innovation
    Operating alongside or over the top of traditional values without seeking an alignment between restorative practice and the old way of doing things will eventually cause a problem and lead to a disconnect between what we say we do and what we actually do in practice. Still caning or using other forms of punishments, following a successful restorative process, will ultimately lead to someone asking, “Why are we still doing this?” This will require a review of the whole school discipline process to ensure that the primary aim is to bring about learning, develop responsible behaviors, and to stop the unhelpful behaviors rather than punishing for the sake of punishing, because that’s the way we have always done things.
  4. Failure To Focus And Prioritize: Death By A Thousand Initiatives
    Innovation gone mad! A common problem for schools who have an abundance of “off the shelf” initiatives to choose from is how to embed a new program before embarking on the next new one.Schools are usually implementing a range of initiatives and seeking to implement something different each term or semester. In the end, staff become reluctant to adopt any new practice because, in reality, they know that this ‘fad’ will pass and before long they will be required to implement something else. In many cases it’s about making a clear case for change and how the initiatives are aligned and relate to the whole, rather than being seen as a separate initiative with no interconnecting aspects. Schools that are effective in working restoratively implement a range of initiatives in order to develop a whole-school social-emotional, and academic learning environment, but they are also successful in explaining how all three aspects are critical to overall school success and the vision for change.
  5. A Failure To Respect And Understand The Culture In Which We Are Seeking To Implement The Innovation
    It is important to understand the culture of the school before you start the change process. Is the school deeply traditional with long-standing ways of doing busing that will be hard to unfreeze? Is it a new school just beginning to create its preferred culture? Is it a school with a large multicultural population where punishments seem pointless? Is it a school that is already relational in its approach to problem-solving? Is it a school with a history of inadequate leadership? It is important to know what the scale of the change might need to be. This is something that is all too often ignored as implementers get frustrated with why things haven’t changed in the way they had hoped. The other aspect that affects change tremendously is where the relationship amongst staff and between staff and management are not aligned with the restorative philosophy. People don’t take kindly to being expected to do things one way and being treated completely contrary to this.
  6. Other Options Are Not Explored In The Experimentation And Development Phase
    Change requires experimentation and adaptation of practice to individual settings, such as working with students with special needs or younger students. Staff must be provided with the opportunity to experiment and to discuss what is working in terms of the application of these practices. This requires a commitment to ongoing dialogue about the implementation of restorative practice, just as one would need to do around raising literacy and numeracy standards.
  7. Those Asked To Change Are Not Involved In The Planning
    How often have you been part of a change process where you have been told to do something different, but have no say in the process? Or worse still, you find problems in the process, but your feedback is not heard or taken on board?

Implementation Mistakes

  1. People Leading The Change Think That Announcing It Is Implementation
    This is a common practice with RD schools, where leaders who may be enthusiastic make an announcement that this is what is going to happen, often without exposing the whole staff to the principles and practice; or conducting a one-day session and expecting staff to implement without dialogue. Of course, in most instances this practice is less than successful, with perhaps only a handful of staff picking the new ideas up and putting them into practice. Whole school change will not be possible without ongoing dialogue and a strategic approach to managing the change process. It takes years to successfully embed practice and to bring about cultural change.
  2. People’s Concerns With Change Are Not Surfaced And Addressed
    As we have discussed, ignore the resisters at your peril! We can learn from them and need to involve them in differing ways. It is important to listen to people to establish what their concerns are and to sufficiently support people in their practice development. One such issue raised is always around time. The time that it takes to learn, develop, and modify is real. Whilst this is an investment that will ultimately save time down the track, it does take time in order to manage this, it is important that staff are supported in making this change, that if they are expected to put the practice in place then they are supported in doing so.
  3. Change Leadership Fails To Include Adopters, Resisters, And Informal Leaders
    Failing to sufficiently spread the field of influence to pick up those affected by the implementation of restorative practice. This includes those in influential positions such as year-level heads, heads of house, vice/deputy principals, principals/heads, team leaders, those in the central office, and those who are firmly against it.
  4. Lack Of Experimentation And Adaptation
    This is believing that a one-size-fits-all implementation approach works and there is no need for experimentation. What we know is that the practices work throughout the world in a range of cultural settings, although it is important to understand the intricacies of working in each setting and to adapt practice accordingly. Innovation will not be adopted unless it can be re-invented to suit the setting. At the same time this can be a trap in the sense that schools believe that their environment is unique compared to other school environments and start changing the nature of the practice so much that the integrity is lost. How practice is interpreted is something that requires ongoing dialogue and referral back to the intent of this work. Are we being restorative or is this simply another big stick in the form of something else -- punishment thinly disguised as a restorative process?
  5. People Not Enabled To Develop New Skills
    People are told they will be implementing restorative practice after being exposed to a one-day or shorter awareness-raising session (often referred to as an introduction to restorative practice). The provision for training and networking is not built into the budget, or access to training is restricted to certain people who may not be influential in the development of practice. When pushing for the whole school change, it is critical to target Early Adopters who are expected to put the new ideas into practice and influence others.
  6. Leaders Who Are Not Credible And Give Mixed Messages
    It is vital that we are congruent in what we do and say. Leaders who expect one thing and so something completely different will lose credibility and greatly affect the change management process. This goes as far as the way leaders talk to staff and deal with difficulties within the school, at all levels. We discuss the importance of leadership at the end of this section of the book.
  7. Progress Is Not Measured
    The implementation of restorative practices will soon fail if people don’t know what the purpose of the change initiative is or what the school is hoping to achieve. Not knowing what we are trying to achieve or what the progress markers are will contribute to failing to celebrate the small wins and big changes along the way. To do this, it is critical that we gather and analyze that data along the way.
  8. People Are Not Held Accountable For The Implementation
    All too often, schools instruct staff that this is the way they are going to do things, without holding anyone to account in the process. If there is a lack of leadership and a team responsible for the implementation of sustainable practice, the implementation will fail.

Kotter's 8 Mistakes

Vision Mistakes

  1. Allowing Complacency
    • Not establishing a great enough sense of urgency; not making a clear statement that doing things the way we do them is no longer acceptable.
    • Not understanding or creating the need for
    • Not having the right person in charge to lead the change initiative or understanding that change requires a particular skill-set

  2. Failing To Build A Powerful Guiding Coalition
    • Not creating a powerful enough coalition early in the change process to help drive the change
    • Relying on one or two people to lead the change initiative
    • Key people in critical position are not on board and/or are not given time to develop a change vision and how to achieve this
    • Underestimating the challenges of the change initiative
    • Lacking strong leadership from above to help drive the change

  3. Failing To Develop A Vision For Change
    • Lacking a clear simple to understand and big enough vision for change
    • Failing to adjust the vision as the change process is implemented; potentially altering the direction of the change

  4. Failing To Communicate The Vision For Buy-In
    • Failing to lead by example and to “walk the talk”; behavior that is inconsistent with the change initiative
    • Failing to incorporate the change initiative into ongoing communication and correspondence
    • Allowing processes to remain in place when found to be inconsistent with the change initiative
    • Failing to treat people affected by the change process fairly
    • Failing to indicate whether proposed solutions align with the change initiatives

Implementation Mistakes

  1. Failing To Empower Others To Act On The Vision And To Remove Barriers
    • Failing to confront and remove obstacles to the new vision
    • Allowing processes to remain in place which are inconsistent with the change initiative
    • Leaders who refuse to change and/or make demands that are inconsistent with the change initiative
    • Failing to empower others or to hear the creative ideas that change processes generate

  2. Failing To Plan For And Generate Short-Term Wins
    • Not systematically planning for and creating short-term wins
    • No evidence of tangible change within 12-24 months

  3. Declaring Victory Too Soon
    • Urgency of change not intense
    • Failing to understand that renewal efforts take years rather than months or a one-off session

  4. Failing To Anchor The New Approaches Into The Culture Of The School -- Making It Stick
    • Not anchoring change in the organization’s culture, ‘the way we do things around here’
    • Removing the pressure for change before change is embedded
    • Not demonstrating how the change initiative has had a positive impact
    • Failing to employ people who personify the change initiative