Blog: Your First 100 Days – Knowing Your People: Part 2

In this blog series, you’ll hear from the author of ‘The First 100 Days’, Phil Denton, about the steps you can take to give yourself the best chance of success in the first 100 days of the new school year.

Regardless of whether you are taking over a new leadership role or looking to develop an existing one, this series will detail the steps that will help you start from an informed, confident and strategic place.

Phil developed his knowledge of best practice in this area through his own experiences of being a Headteacher, Deputy, Assistant, Year Lead and Head of Department. He enhanced this understanding by working with football managers who have had successful 100 days in the English Premier League. He has also worked with successful manager Micky Mellon and spoke with business leaders from the world of accounts, travel and industry. All of this experience and these lessons will be condensed and shared with you at regular intervals to provoke thought, reflection and action.

Provoking thought, reflection and generating action is the core purpose of Evaluate-Ed. Follow this series and take a free trial to see how you can improve your school and everyone in it through an informed and strategic approach. Click here for your free trial.

Knowing Your People: Part 2

As we said in the last blog, the biggest variable, resource and responsibility we have as school leaders is people. Look back at our previous blog to see how you can gain an understanding of motivation that can help you set up processes to help monitor the key elements of it. You can also use the model to help you dissect the issue if you are finding an issue with an individual or elements of your team.

Innovation is the fuel that keeps your people fresh and looking to grow the positives and tackle the negatives. Innovation should be constant and flowing across an organisation, but it will always be more of a strength with some people when compared with others.

One way to understand your innovation across the team is to use the ‘Diffusion of Innovation’ as a model to place your team on. This is not a static model, and your people may change their position depending on the change or innovation you are looking for.

By using Evaluate-Ed, you can identify your areas of strength and innovation as you look through the various sections that relate to the innovation and performance of every aspect of your school. You’ll have more of a handle on this than ever before, as it’s all represented in one place on your dashboard. Click the link to get your free trial today.

When using the ‘Diffusion of Innovation’ model, first consider those people who are desperately looking to progress and buy-in to the whole-school ethos. Perhaps reflect back to the blog relating to motivation and consider why that might be. You can do this for both innovators and early adopters. There will be key influencers at this end of the scale. The early majority will be the group who are keen to see how things pan out, but then quickly jump on board because of the positive experience they have in working with these peers and their desire for whole-school improvement.

The tipping point can be the tip of this bell curve. Where the early majority meets the late majority lives individuals who are the leaders in your staffroom. These individuals carry a gravitas amongst their peers and their opinion will sway those in the late majority. It is important to identify these characters and even converse with them prior to announcing any change or before laying out your vision for the future. Making them really feel part of the plan, conversation and solution can do a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ when it comes to establishing a strong culture of innovation in your team.

Don’t forget, the bigger your team, the more likely you are to have those laggards who will hold out until all other options have gone! The trick is to focus on the mass rather than the minority, unless the minority are deliberately looking to sabotage your aims. As with everything, relationships and an understanding of people underpins all of this.

Reflection tasks

  1. Who are your staffroom or team leaders in your setting?
  2. How can you foster their support through positive relationships that involve frequent consultation?
  3. Who are the innovators that can drive the ideas?
  4. How can you build consultation and implementation of innovation into your strategic plans?


Phil is a Headteacher as well as an author, having written ‘The First 100 Days’, a story about what we can learn from Premier League managers about being successful over your first 100 days in a role and beyond. Phil has had several articles published in the SecEd magazine.

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