frustrated-teacherAre you struggling to implement a new initiative? Whenever a new mandate comes, or a new program gets selected for a campus or district, implementation becomes an issue.

Some basic guidelines help increase the level of implementation faster and lessen the frustration for everyone.


  • Use simpler processes that take less time and involve more people. It helps achieve critical mass faster. More than one program has failed simply because it was too complicated to put into place and took too much time.
  • Make it easier to use than not to use. What assists and supports are available to ease the staff into it?
  • Break it into tasks, schedule them for the year, and put them on the weekly calendar. More tasks get done if they are given time allotments.
  • Know that implementation will be uneven. In the Joyce and Shower research, they found that approximately 10% of the staff will implement immediately (“omnivores”), 10% will have questions and then implement (“active receivers”), 70% will only implement it if there is insistence and support (“passive receivers”) and 10% will never do it (“reluctant receivers”).
  • Make certain that your respected staff members had a voice (if possible) in the decision-making – if not in the decision-making, then the implementation. One way or another they will be involved and getting their voice early can keep the implementation from being delayed or sabotaged.
  • Identify what the trade off will be. In other words, when something new comes in, something else has to leave often because of time constraints. So what will be lost? What will be grieved? Is there a way to integrate the new with what is already working?

What do you do about staff bullies? Yes, they exist – just as administrative and community bullies do. I found these tools to help:

  • Involve them in the decision making or implementation process.
  • Provide a grace period for “experimenting” with the ideas and programs.
  • Have a private one-to-one conversation with them about their concerns. At some point, you may need to confront them privately.

Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D. is the founder of aha! Process and an author, speaker, publisher, and career educator. Recognized internationally for A Framework for Understanding Poverty, her foundational book and workshop, Dr. Ruby Payne has helped students and adults of all economic backgrounds achieve academic, professional, and personal success