Stop and learn about readiness

Research and practical experience suggest that readiness is critical when making a change. Change can take many forms – from revamping a program completely to implementing a new set of activities or strategies to making improvements to existing practices – but its success hinges on having strong operations, willing staff, and engaged stakeholders ready to make change happen with integrity and quality.

What is readiness?

Readiness refers to the overall willingness and capacity within an organization that enables change to occur successfully. Readiness includes four key elements: strong program operations; staff well-being, beliefs, and skills; engaged and informed stakeholders; and change-specific intentional practices.

What are the key organizational gears of readiness?

  • Positive culture and climate
  • Openness to change
  • Collaborative decision making
  • Organization priorities
  • Youth development practices
  • Alignment
  • Capacity for implementation
  • Plans for implementation
  • Staff well-being
  • Perceived advantage and alignment with staff values and beliefs
  • Self-efficacy, growth mindset, and perceived knowledge and skills

Readiness for change is both general and specific. Some elements are important no matter what change you are making but it is also important to engage in specific and intentional practices that are unique to the change you are making.

How do I measure and build readiness?

Readiness is an important but overlooked factor when programs make changes but there is good news: readiness is something you can and should measure and build over time, adjusting implementation plans to align with the ever-evolving conditions for out-of-school time programming. Use AIR’s free readiness assessment to:

  • Think and reflect on the key elements of readiness using a reliable and validated measure
  • Receive a readiness report that identifies areas of your program that are more and less ready for change
  • Identify available resources that will help you and your program build readiness in the areas that need more support
  • Return to the assessment to recalibrate readiness regularly to account for changing conditions that influence overall readiness
A young female University student of African decent, stands behind a peer and leans in as she tries to help her classmate with his studies. They are both dressed casually and are among a group sitting at the table all studying together for class.
Math teacher giving a Math lesson to his students and using a ruler

What can I measure our readiness for?

Readiness for change is both general and specific – some elements are important no matter what change you are making, and other elements are unique to the change itself. AIR’s Ready Toolkit helps you assess your readiness for change in the following areas:

  • Social and emotional learning programs and practices
  • Summer learning (coming soon!)
  • Family engagement (coming soon!)
  • Safe and healthy play (coming soon!)

Learn more about AIR’s body of work on OST Readiness.

Think and assess your readiness.