Strategic Agility in Practice | Teachers College Columbia University

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Strategic Agility: Leading Change in Uncertain Times in K12 Educational Organizations

December 7, 2020 - January 28, 2021

December 2020 - January 2021
Online Zoom Course for Practitioners
Session 1: Mon., Dec. 7 (10 - 11:30 am EST)
Session 2: Thur., Jan. 7 (10 - 1:30 pm EST)
Session 3: Thur., Jan. 14 (10 - 1:30 pm EST)
Session 4: Thur., Jan. 21 (10 - 1:30 pm EST)
Session 5: Thur., Jan. 28 (10 - 1:30 pm EST)

*Please note, in order to earn a Certificate of Participation or CTLEs participants are asked to join the Zoom live sessions from 10-11:30 am EST; all participants may choose to participate, in the Zoom live faculty-supported working session until 1:30 pm EST.

Registration Fee: $1,295

Includes Strategic Agility Workbook and access to Canvas online learning platform

Group/Team Discount (2 or more): Contact

Units Awarded: 3 CEUs, 30 Clock Hours, 30 CTLEs

Questions? Contact

This workshop is limited to 25 registrants

The current demands on K12 education leaders within the context of a global pandemic present leaders with increased chaos, anxiety, and increasingly toxic levels of stress. Education leaders need now more than ever intensive coaching and professional learning support to lead their organizations strategically through a landscape of intensifying change, uncertainty, and ambiguity. The challenges of thinking and executing strategically have perhaps never been as pervasive as they are now. Amidst the global pandemic, economic downturn, and protests against racial injustice, how do school administrators create value and opportunities for children, families, teachers, and administrators in K12 schools?

Join us for a month-long immersion in strategic learning and organizational change management during times of crisis. Strategic Agility provides K12 school administrators with the tools, practices, and skills to lead change initiatives successfully by strategically repositioning their organizations to become more adaptive and responsive to the changing conditions stemming from a global pandemic, economic recession, and racial injustice. Under the guidance and coaching of Teachers College Faculty learn the leadership skillset of strategic agility--the ability of leaders to respond in real-time to change and uncertainty, consciously using tools and practices to effectively apply strategic thinking for institutional learning and creating innovative solutions that establish a sustainable advantage for their education organizations. Specifically, Strategic Agility is a practical, project-based learning experience that supports administrators to engage in strategic thinking and strategic learning in ways that impact both organizational development and personal leadership development simultaneously.

On the individual level, participants experience personal benefits through faculty and peer coaching and reflective practice, exposure to the latest research, analysis of multiple leadership inventories, exposure to divergent points of view, and four applied projects. On the organizational level, participants work alongside colleagues to simultaneously learn, apply, and adapt strategic agility tools and strategies for common problems of practice, including: health and safety of employees and students, engagement of families and vulnerable populations during a pandemic, budget uncertainties, and access to remote learning offerings.

Four applied projects during this course allow participants, under the guidance and coaching of the Teachers College Faculty, to apply the tools and practices in their educational organizations, receive feedback from faculty and peers, and develop strategic agility in real time. This unique, intensive virtual learning opportunity provides superintendents, deputy superintendents, executive directors, school leaders, and other K12 administrators with a month of coaching and practical application of research-based leadership tools and practices.

Strategic Agility builds leaders’ capacity for strategic thinking, skill development, and a greater openness to leading school improvement and change initiatives.

This program provides participants with the tools and practices to effectively apply strategic thinking for organizational learning and creating innovative solutions that establish a sustainable advantage for their organizations. The participants will leave with an enhanced ability and practical tools to apply these practices in their organizations, specifically in the areas of health and safety of employees and students, engagement of families and vulnerable populations during a pandemic, budget uncertainties, and access to remote learning offerings. Built around frameworks tested and applied in a range of organizational and institutional settings, the Teachers College Faculty provide an intensive month-long learning experience and coach participants to apply key strategic learning tools and practices through project-based learning.

SESSION TOPICS will include:

Session 1: Orientation to Strategic Agility - Monday, December 7 (10-11:30 am)

  • Understanding and Overcoming Resistance to Change
  • Tolerance for Ambiguity
  • Defining Strategy as Strategic Learning
  • Overcoming the paradox of experience: Key strategic learning practices
  • Learning through Analogies

Session 2: Project 1: Developing a New Strategic Space - Thursday, January 7 (10 am - 1:30 pm)

  • Blue Ocean Strategy - Innovation Link
  • Most Important Stakeholders & Value Chains
  • The importance of understanding an organization’s value chain in developing effective strategies
  • Interviewing Most Important Stakeholders

Session 3: Project 2: Insight through Value Curves - Thursday, January 14 (10 am - 1:30 pm)

  • Defining Your Organization’s Elements of Performance
  • Strategic Visualization and Innovation
  • Value Curves Project
  • Understanding the real competitive advantage

Session 4: Project 3: Scenario Learning - Thursday, January 21 (10 am - 1:30 pm)

  • Scenario Learning Project
  • The implications of complexity and ambiguity for strategic thinking and innovation
  • Problems when organizations do not think strategically

Session 5: Project 4: Political Mapping for Organizational Change - Thursday, January 28 (10 am - 1:30 pm)

  • Political Mapping for Realizing Strategy
  • Moving from a strategic mindset to organizational innovation, alignment, and strategy execution
  • Change Management
  • Integrating strategic learning tools into existing organizational structures of K12 schools

During the program you will learn and experience:

  • An improved capability for using strategic thinking tools and practices
  • Building enhanced capacity for strategic alignment
  • An approach for leading strategic conversations
  • Identifying the Most Important Stakeholder in your organization's Value Chain
  • A method for determining your organization's Value Curve to identify your strategic Elements of Performance
  • Finding your Strategic Mindset Skills and Competencies
  • Assessing your organization's strategic innovation culture
  • Strategic approaches to managing change initiatives relating to health and safety of employees and students, engagement of families and vulnerable populations during a pandemic, budget uncertainties, and access to remote learning offerings.

Key Takeaways include:

  • Enhanced capacity to think strategically and to learn from experience
  • Practical tools for thinking strategically and overcoming organizational barriers to gaining alignment and execution
  • Heightened observation and questioning capability to reveal strategic opportunities
  • A strategic mindset for creating breakthrough innovation and proving stakeholders value
  • Scenario learning for your organization to cope with the pandemic and other key uncertainties
  • Creating a Value Chain for your organization and identifying your most important stakeholders
  • Interviewing most important stakeholders and generating insight from data collected through value curves visualization process
  • Engage in political mapping for your organizational context to realize your strategic initiatives


Lyle Yorks

Professor, Department of Organization and Leadership
Teachers College, Columbia University 

Lyle teaches courses in adult learning, strategy development as an organization learning process, strategic human resource development, and research. He is also a lecturer in the Executive Master of Science Program in Technology Management at the School of Professional Studies, Columbia University where he teaches a course in Strategic Advocacy. Lyle has over 30 years of experience working with organizations in diverse industries,including higher education, worldwide on projects involving action learning, strategic organizational change, and management development. Lyle earned his master degrees from Vanderbilt University and Columbia University and his doctorate from Columbia University.

Sarah Benis Scheier-Dolberg

Executive Director, Arete Education, Inc.

Sarah is the Executive Director of Areté Education, Inc., a 501(c)3 not for profit organization that trains and empowers youth to lead successful lives, by partnering with local schools and community groups to grow investment in Mott Haven youth. Sarah’s courses at Teachers College have included courses in decision-making and school administration for Summer Principals Academy | New Orleans and professional learning for district and building administrators for the Urban Education Leaders Collaborative in the areas of cultivating leaders and teams; equity and cultural diversity; innovation, technology, & learning; and emotional intelligence, trauma, restorative practices. Sarah has over 20 years of experience working with P12 organizations in urban areas across the United States working in the capacity as high school teacher, administrator, professional develop, coach, and program evaluator. Sarah earned her master degrees from Tufts University and Columbia University and her doctorate from Columbia University in Urban Educational Leadership.


This program is for high potential leaders, including superintendents, deputy superintendents, executive directors, school leaders, and other K12 administrators, in positions requiring enhanced strategic thinking or who are transitioning into new roles requiring them to move from making tactical to strategic decisions in an institutional environment of increasing complexity and ambiguity. Leaders of public and private P12 organizations are encouraged to attend.

Continuing Education

Participants who successfully complete the workshop will receive 3 CEUs, 30 Clock Hours, 30 CTLEs and a Certificate of Participation, upon completion of four projects and attendance in all Zoom live sessions held from 10-11:30 am.

Please note, we are not able to offer partial Clock Hours or CTLEs for those who cannot attend the full workshop.

Teachers College, Columbia University has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).


"I found the content interesting and engaging. The tools and strategies are practical for thinking through the process of developing change in my school, and in myself as a leader."

"Directly connects to the work my school needs to take on. Great tools to move the conversation forward."

"Very relevant. I am in a huge change process at my school."

"I learned many new tools that I will use with my leadership team"

"I recommend this to anyone who has even the slightest interest in strategic planning/innovation."

"I am happy to have an action plan drafted and a colleague with whom I can process and put everything to use."

"The workshop was more about mindset and tools to move toward that mindset. Very helpful to our work."

"Adapt or die! I recommend one person from our admin goes each year."

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