Barriers to Moving Forward


In January, my post to LeaderTalk entitled, “Isn’t it Time that you Were Part of Something Big”,  was on using the Bone Diagram to define where you want to go, where you currently are, the positive forces that move the organization forward and the barriers to moving forward. Over the years I have found a handful of workshops that have literally had an impact on my work and David Langford’s is certainly one  of these. I have used the bone diagram on numerous occasions with groups and found that we make the most progress by focusing our actions on breaking down a few key barriers. This concept fits so well with the idea of creative tension.

If the “Desired State” is to create a learning environment where teachers and students have ubiquitous access to technological tools, and this access transforms the learning environment there are many barriers that I see mentioned frequently.

In no particular order

  • Financial limitations – This is a major barrier that is reality schools have shown can be overcome. With today’s economic crisis this barrier can be even more difficult to overcome.
  • Individuals/Groups who do not support the vision – These individuals can be the leaders, teachers, parents, community members, etc. Maybe the issue is that people are just comfortable doing what they’ve been doing. When doing this excercise it’s important to identify which group(s) you are talking about.
  • Infrastructure limitations – It’s so important to have the back end hardware, software and tech support in place. The technology has to work 99.9% of the time. This may/may not be tied with the financial limitations.
  • Educators who lack the skills to teach in this “Desired State” – You can build it but that does not mean that it will be used. There is a steep learning curve for leaders, teachers, students and parents. 
  • Focus on other initiatives – It certainly takes time and a concentrated effort to move toward this “desired state”  and we can’t just drop everything else. Or, can we? I sense that this is a huge barrier for those schools whose students have to perform on standardized tests.

What am I missing? What if we now focus our efforts on tackling just two of these barriers? Which ones are the most important to address in your school?

Image from dandj1025 at