The Game-Changer Mindset

This coming week I will be giving a presentation for the Kentucky Intramural and Recreational Sports Association State Workshop, entitled “Tech That! Technology Tools That Will Transform Your Job.” I will be presenting different technology tools I have used to increase efficiency and productivity, and to better engage student staff. I used the following slide to introduce the first part of my presentation:

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Today, I happened to see a blog post by George Couros, who is the Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning for Parkland School Division in Alberta, Canada. His blog title? “The Biggest ‘Game-Changer’ in Education.” After having spent so much time preparing a presentation about all the technology tools that had made such a difference in my job, I just had to read about George’s big game-changer. Here is what he said:

The real game changer isn’t something external; it is internal. It is the way we think and grow. It is moving from that “fixed” mindset…and moving to the “growth” mindset.

The “game changer” is, and always will be, being open to new learning opportunities, doing something with them, and making that human connection to our learners.

I have always viewed the term “game changer” as something positive, involving an external aspect that is introduced to produce a better result. I had never really stopped to consider that a big part of “game changer” is the word “change.” Uh oh.

Like most people, I am resistant to change. I remember the exact moment in my career that ultimately led to an explosion of technology use in my job. I was sitting in my office, entering information into a spreadsheet from a stack of paper checklists, and our division’s IT guy walked by and suggested I start using Google Docs. My reaction? I explained to him why it wouldn’t work. He shrugged his shoulders and left. That might have been the end of it, but fortunately, the data entry was so cumbersome, and the paper usage so unappealing, that I was ready to try anything to be rid of both. I started experimenting with Google Docs, and voila! No more paper checklists, no more storage problems, and no more data entry.

Why do we wait until we get to the primal scream stage before instituting a change?

Instead of resisting change, the strategy that I’m learning to adopt is this: when a suggestion is made that involves change, instead of explaining why it won’t work, first explore ways to make it work. Why make a decision based on negative outcomes that you *think* might happen when you can list numerous advantages for change? Be open to something new. List pros and cons, with the goal of making things better, not maintaining the status quo. Don’t stay bogged down in the way things have always been done. Ask questions. Seek answers. It may be that processes cannot be changed at the time. But you might land on something that will transform your job. And being open to possibilities is the real game-changer!

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