7 educational leaders from around the world conducted a Personal Strategic Development Assessment to frame their strategic leadership journey and outline personal and educational experiences related to their strategic development. Their experiences vary in the process and adds to their collective story of strategic discovery as it relates to their roles in the education sector.
These educators recognize the necessity to monitor ‘their own learning processes through feedback and [find] opportunities to improve and set future goals.’ (ACT, p. 7) Individual strengths and weakness are central as these educators keep their strategic plan front and centre, monitor their personal assessment, grow in their focus to align goals with action and create a path forward to fit their plan. (Ciminelli, p.2)
Discoveries and Observations
Personal strategic development assessments identify wants and needs for changing and strengthening responses to individual circumstances and stressors faced in developing as strategic leaders. Personal observations of desired changes and skills development allows each leader to improve strategic life practice and continue developing their strategic leadership approaches. Each identifies areas needing attention for developing and strengthening their view and ongoing commitment to personal strategic leadership practice.
These leaders identify a variety of themes they see as important to address:
Decision making challenges
When faced with any given circumstance, I vacillate between two extreme responses: trepidation or confidence. – Peters
Strategy is maximized when it also involves aspirational dimensions that touch the emotions of all the stakeholders involved: employees, current and future clients and customers, the general public, owners, and shareholders. – Oberle
Strengths to work on
The areas I would like to excel in are critical thinking, processing information, and results-based leadership. – Zhang
I believe I can achieve my mission and vision if I continue to keep an active relationship with God through prayer and reading God´s Word, maintain a learning attitude, and promote servant leadership. – Warkentin
I am working on being more adaptable with my diverse learners and their learning pace. – Seabreeze
Real leadership is sometimes unrecognizable compared to the traditional notion of the leader being the one with the most power or holding the highest position. – Hinksman
Through many years of personal growth, I came to the place where I recognize leadership requires the support of many. – Tegelberg
Each educator identifies ‘old economy’ thinking and practices they use and the outcome(s) of those practices in their leadership. Though they understand the notion of there being more than one way to learn, they see the importance of changing ways that don’t work as well. (Riding, p. 205) But change does not always come easy.
Taking time for personal assessment helps everyone become better strategic leaders and allows everyone to see themselves clearly and chart the future more effectively. Recognizing individual strengths and weaknesses leads to the adoption of appropriate coping behaviors to meet the goals set and change behaviours keeping them from achieving those goals. (Riding, p. 206) For educators, outlining strategic strength helps discover and develop strategic leadership ability and prepare for future practice, while developing a trajectory toward their desired future leadership state.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Cross Sectoral Assessment Working Party. (2016) Teachers’ Guide to Assessment. (rev. ed.). Retrieved from https://www.education.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/297182/Teachers-Guide-To-Assessment.pdf.
Ciminelli, P. and May, C. (2008). Developing your personal strategic plan: A practical tool for exceptional leaders. A presentation to the Advanced Management Institute for architecture and engineering. NAIOP CEO Retreat, January 14-16, 2008. Retrieved from http://www.writebank.com/personalstratplanwkbk.pdf.
Riding, R. J. and Sadler-Smith, E. (December 2002). Cognitive Style and Learning Strategies: Some Implications for Training Design. International Journal of Training and Development. (Vol 1. Iss. 3 pp. 199-208). Hoboken NJ: Wiley Online. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2419.00020.