I was bowled over by the attendance at my workshop on April 10 at the annual meeting of the National School Boards Association in Chicago. Thinking that 50 people would be a respectable turnout, I was delighted that over 200 showed up – standing room only, with many disappointed people turned away at the door. Clearly, the subject of my workshop – “Taking Command of Strategic Change” – struck a real chord among school board members and superintendents.
I really shouldn’t have been surprised. These are challenging times, and old-time strategic/long-range planning, with its pounds of paper and thousands of words, can’t cut the mustard where dealing with strategic issues in a rapidly changing world is concerned. Judging from the questions participants asked and the evaluation forms that were submitted, the education leaders in my workshop thought that my Strategic Change Portfolio model for leading change made the best of sense. In brief, the model involves identifying strategic issues in the form of challenges/problems (e.g., a looming revenue shortfall) and opportunities (a possible partnership with the business community), selecting the highest stakes issues, fashioning Strategic Change Initiatives to address the issues, and managing implementation of the Initiatives in a portfolio kept separate from day-to-day operations. You might want to check out my paper on the subject – “Applying the Strategic Change Portfolio Model” – at www.DougEadie.com/resources/.
My workshop participants at NSBA-Chicago were very interested in a large-scale change initiative going on in the Hillsborough County Public Schools here in Tampa Bay, Florida. The initiative – a large-scale effort to strengthen teacher effectiveness, supported by a $100 million grant from the Gates Foundation – is described in my column in the May issue of NSBA’s “American School” magazine: “A Bold Partnership.” You can also find the column at www.DougEadie.com/resources/.
I’d like to hear from you about your experience in managing strategic issues in your organization. Contact me at Doug@DougEadie.com.