Nov 17, 2022

The Leadership Model in Education is Tired, Broken and Not Prepared for the Future

The leadership model is a strange beast in education. We define the leadership function of education as executive leadership (head, president) and governance (board of trustees). Both models seem underpowered and ill-prepared to handle the fast-paced innovations that have recently and will continue to drive the industry.

Our experience tells us that there are three main gaps in the leadership model in education:

  1. Boards are getting older, more power-based, and less capable of attracting the young, entrepreneurial mindset that is needed for adaptability to the changing market. Social entrepreneurs seek relationally-based and change-oriented work and the glacial pace of education boards is unattractive.

  2. Heads of school and college presidents are increasingly being held to advancement, enrollment, and revenue goals that are not reasonable nor sustainable, increasing the volatility of their board relationships and threatening their length of tenure.

  3. The acquisition model of executives (old school “search”) and board members (nominating committee) nearly ensures a lack of disruptive and adaptive change in a rapidly changing industry. They are models that maintain the status quo.

Over the years, we have learned that both schools and colleges are struggling to find the right leaders that are prepared to adapt to a rapidly changing world. The symptoms of this problem are painful, contributing to disruptions in organizational momentum. Leading educational institutions of the future will find new ways to adapt the leadership model to the challenges that schools and colleges face in the marketplace.

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