To rise to the oncoming challenges facing community colleges, presidents have expressed an urgent need: an empowered cabinet that helps lead strategic change.
In an increasingly volatile higher ed landscape, cabinet members are no longer tasked only with running an efficient department and successfully completing transactional tasks that keep the ship afloat; they now have to look up and think strategically about where their department and institution is heading. However, this is a new way of doing business for cabinets, and many are unsure of their roles and how to go about fulfilling them.
To meet these challenges, cabinet members must develop new strategic thinking skills, lead change across campus, and build infrastructures that support sustainable strategic transformation. To guide cabinet members in this shift in thought and responsibility, the Community College Executive Forum is pleased to provide the Strategic Cabinet Resource Center.
These expert insight pieces and toolkits guide cabinets through each step of this process of transformation.
Educate stakeholders on the need for strategy
Shorter presidential tenures, a rise in no-confidence votes, and increasing public scrutiny of the sector as a whole has placed community college presidents under a microscope that many fear directly inhibit their ability to effectively lead their institutions. Read our insight to learn why the answer to this new leadership reality is an empowered, strategic-leading cabinet.
Exercise strategic thinking
Crafting a transformational vision and leading change on campus is not something that happens overnight—these skills take time and consistency to develop. Read our insight for three ways that community college cabinet leaders can flex and build their strategic thinking skills.
To move above transactional tasks and think strategically, cabinet members need to get above their day-to-day and develop new strategic thinking skills. Use multiple potential futures to think outside the norm and develop a strategic mindset by determining how their institution would remain solvent in various disruptive environments.
Community college leaders need to be able to appeal to different stakeholders (and their style of thinking) on campus. This tool will help community colleges lead an exercise to discover the six different "thinking hat" styles to help change the way leaders structure the planning process.
Translate vision into actionable goals
The success of a vision often relies on the buy-in and action of those not directly involved in strategy-setting. Learn how one community college translates lofty, strategic goals into daily actions for staff through a system of strict, accountable project management.
To make a visionary idea a reality, community college leaders must translate strategy from something that is lofty or vague to something that is more operational and implementation-focused. Use this toolkit to translate strategic priorities into S.M.A.R.T. goals and make strategy impactful to staff at all levels, boosting staff engagement in institutional strategy.
Structure impactful change
Under the pressure of achieving a strategic vision, many higher ed leaders neglect the ingredients for impactful, sustained change. Read our insight for three of the most important parts to create an infrastructure that supports all strategic initiatives.
Change of a visionary scale is never easy, and community colleges need to prepare to tackle the challenges associated with institutional transformation. Use this playbook to understand the eight stages of organizational change and anticipate potential barriers.