Strategy (3)

Aligning School Strategy With Advocacy

Dr Phil Cummins explains how and why schools can align school strategy with advocacy for the other.


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The Advocacy of Responsible Citizens

When we build strategy by aligning it with advocacy for the other, we use future-fit thinking to create and implement a way forward that will ensure the attainment of the school’s preferred future by encouraging the responsible citizenship of learners with the perspective to balance the needs of their local, regional and global communities.

Schools do not exist for their own sake; they are communities of inquiry and practice that should be dedicated to improving outcomes for their learners. There are many other important functions that they perform, but none so significant as the cultivation of generations of graduates who are equipped, empowered and enabled with the voice, agency and advocacy to become responsible citizens in the communities to which they can and should contribute. This requires concentration of effort and resource on the things that matter most:

A school leader’s activity in aligning culture with strategy must arise from an ongoing journey involving reflection and development of the purpose of leadership and it needs to flow through from an understanding of how best to articulate the values and mission of the school community into daily life.

CIRCLE Global Educational Research Program Finding*

This is not simply a technical exercise. The leadership of strategy through advocacy is no easy task. It usually calls on leaders to dig deep into the story of their own citizenship:

I think in that adversity we find parts of ourselves. And then often the journey is about love and service and contribution and community.

Hunter Johnson | Game Changers insight**

Locating Advocacy In School Strategy

Strategy which is aligned with the advocacy of responsible citizens describes success for a school in terms of the positive influence its graduates have on people and place and planet. What does it look like to embed advocacy within school strategy?

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Leading Strategy With Advocacy

Adriano and I describe the exercise of leadership as responsible citizens that aligns school strategy through advocacy for the other like this in our book***:

We are building relationships with our schools’ different and intersecting communities, negotiating and advocating for the place of the school and the value proposition it offers. In doing so, a game changer assists their school to define its preferred position and situate itself within its context by reinforcing its purpose, commitment and connections within the community.

Ref: Game Changers: Leading Today's Learning for Tomorrow's World (Amba Press 2023) p.14

A checklist for the work of advocacy as a team leader building strategy might look like the following:

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A checklist for the work of advocacy as an organisational leader building strategy might look like the following:

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How do you rate your work as a leader who aligns school strategy with advocacy for the other?

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* You can learn more about the strategic imperative for cultural leadership that is purposeful in meeting the needs of others here:

** You can listen to Hunter Johnson’s Game Changers Episode here:

*** You can purchase your copy of Game Changers: Leading Today’s Learning For Tomorrow’s World (now published by Amba Press) through Amazon here, Barnes and Noble here, and Booktopia here.

Dr Phil Cummins FRSA FACEL FIML is the Managing Partner of a School for tomorrow, Managing Director at CIRCLE – The Centre for Innovation, Research, Creativity & Leadership in Education, Associate Professor of Education & Enterprise at Alphacrucis University College, and co-host of the Game Changers podcast series.

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