Building a unified staff begins with a guiding coalition who works to build a collaborative atmosphere. In this context, team members work without titles to set building goals, design a plan, and then build buy in with other staff members. The key to this are staff members leading other staff members. Often this is uncomfortable but a necessary aspect of working to achieve school wide change and deepening learning for all students.
Members of the guiding coalition go back to their respective departments or grade levels to get feedback about the goals, timeline, and evaluation methods. It is daunting for staff to do but, again, it is a necessary step. This step communicates the direction the school is headed and allows every staff member opportunity to voice concerns, suggest revisions to the goals, the timeline, or the evaluation methods, or remain silent. A quick aside - silence does not mean compliance. Those in silence may likely cause division with other staff members by renouncing the overall plan and degrading other staff members and administrators to anyone who will listen. Looking past these personalities creates a larger cultural problem that, if not dealt with, will spread like venom. Administrators will need to open discussions with such individuals or cohorts to call them out on their intentions, explain the benefit of the plan, and bring them into acceptance.
When all staff members have had opportunity to give input on the overall plan, then communicate the entire plan to the staff.
One time communication is a poor way to remind people of goals, strategies, and desired outcomes. It is the responsibility of the guiding coalition to frequently communicate building goals, timelines, and evaluation methods. A one time memo, email, or staff meeting announcement is insufficient to building unification. Every staff member needs to be reminded on a regular about what is trying to be achieved. Without constant reminder, educators forget the plan because of their work with students, grading, planning, assessing, and working with parents.
Remind staff of the building plan using email, newsletter, and announcements. Most of all, the members of the guiding coalition must take every opportunity to reinforce the plan on an individual and personal basis. This helps to create relationships, and building relationships helps to relieve stress of fellow staff members who are unsettled, stressed, or obtuse to the plan.
Use the Internet to find case studies as samples for the kind of change desired. Showing staff members how other teachers benefited from the change being sought improved what they did.
Write a list of benefits the change will bring. Find evidence through Internet searches to corroborate each time on the list. Present this to staff.
Another way to explain why change is needed is to meet with staff members in small groups. This adds a personal touch to what will likely be a difficult process.