Helping You Become a Future-Ready Leader

Develop, Plan, and Execute Strategy Differently

Connect with a Strategy & Organizational Change Expert

Get guidance on to how mobilize your team to lead & work differently.

Advancing growth and culture change requires participation from all levels of leaders. Traditional change management theory would have us believe there are two ways to effect change: bottom-up or top-down. We help organize expertly designed visioning, planning, and working sessions that bring together leaders from all levels of the institution to help you create a sense of urgency, push through resistance, challenge existing assumptions, and tap into fresh thinking and bold, inspirational ideas.

Individual Leadership Skill Development

Looking ahead 5-10 years, what are the specific skills and abilities your leaders will need to guide your institution successfully into the future? We focus on equipping individual leaders with the skillsets they need to lead differently.

Practical & Applied

Drawing on 20+ years of leadership expertise and a trove of design thinking techniques and group collaborative practices, we craft engagements that will not only train your leaders but help you get the work done.

A Scalable Approach

Whether you’re convening a small senior team or leading a strategic planning effort with a group of hundreds, our approach is scalable across group sizes.

How We Help

Our work is designed to help with the following kinds of efforts:

Organizational Transformation

You might be a President charting a new course for your institution and needing your leadership team to level up their strategic thinking & decision-making skills to support it. You might be a Research or Faculty Affairs leader charged with elevating the research profile of your institution, and you need to encourage a culture of creativity and entrepreneurial thinking among your faculty to support it. Or you might be a division leader whose area recently underwent budget cuts, and whose team desperately needs to break out of a zero-sum, scarcity mindset to work differently. Whatever the circumstance, we help support and further large-scale organizational transformation efforts.

Strategic Planning

With the amount of leadership turnover in higher education today, many institutions have been through numerous strategic planning processes in recent years and are disillusioned about the process. We help craft creative, integrated approaches to strategic planning that have staying power, encourage ownership, and build trust within the institution, college, or division.

Visioning Sessions

You may be a new Dean who needs to formulate a vision for your College in an input-driven, collaborative way that also garners support for your leadership. You may be a Chair whose department has grown significantly in recent years, to the point where a new vision and mission statement is needed. Or you may be a division leader whose area recently merged with another, and you need everyone to unite around a common vision. We help organize visioning sessions that are designed to inspire, align, build community, and move your work forward in productive ways.

Leadership Retreats

A well-designed one- or two-day retreat can do wonders to build trust and momentum within a leadership team. We regularly work with leaders to design and facilitate customized, tailored retreats that maximize the time you have together.

Read Examples That Show How We Have Worked With Institutions In This Area

Stop doing more with less.

After several years of declining enrollment and associated headcount reduction, one university needed to find new ways to manage its work, both because there were fewer people to do it and to also promote new ways of thinking so that the institution did not have to face such a situation again.

We convened a workshop at the university with a diverse group of administrators from across the institution to help them build their leadership capacity—both to understand how they had contributed to their current reality and how they could lead differently. We examined several institutional processes in the workshop and engaged in a collaborative process to redesign and reimagine them. This creative process enabled them to think differently about their work, focus on what was in their control, and leverage the perspectives of colleagues that they normally didn’t work with.

By modeling a new way of working together, the institution's leaders were able to reclaim their agency in their leadership, make important progress on decisions that had stymied them, and build confidence that they could turn the institution around.

Create a shared sense of urgency to change.

Real change doesn't happen in a vacuum; it happens when a diverse group can come together, challenge notions about how things have always been done, and find ways to move forward.

A small elite university engaged us because they needed to reexamine the number of events that they were holding to promote the university's work. The university had a centralized process to manage events, but its decentralized structure enabled hundreds of events to pop up outside of those formal processes. No one on campus had a single, global view of how much money, staff time, and other resources were actually being committed to those various events.

Rather than a senior leader deciding to centralize decision making and resources which would have created significant pushback, we brought together a diverse group of stakeholders from across the campus to understand what was happening and why. Through a structured process that ensured everyone’s voice was heard, we created a single view of all of the events on campus and their overall cost and impact.

Strategic planning that actually works.

Facing declining enrollment and pressure to innovate, one university's leadership recognized the imperative for a strategic planning initiative that could activate the campus towards real action and change.

We started by examining the levels of trust and psychological safety on campus to ensure that faculty and staff felt able and willing to contribute their best thinking to the process. Through collaborative workshops and brainstorming sessions, we helped to identify both key challenges—outdated curriculum, limited online offerings, etc.—as well as key opportunities to work differently—to work more collaboratively, and to bridge the divide between faculty and staff.

By adopting a user-centric approach to problem-solving, faculty members, administrators, and students were able to collaborate and re-imagine the university experience. The process also created alignment and ownership of the plan, which led to immediate improvements to a forthcoming academic review process. Guided by these principles of change leadership, the university's leadership team was able to provide a plan that was not merely a document but a dynamic roadmap for transformation.

Connect with a Strategy & Organizational Change Expert