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3 Leadership Trends That Will Benefit Your Independent School

By Jeffrey Shields posted 02-13-2018 08:56 AM


CEO Notebook |

Cultivate brand ambassadors, customer service and women's leadership so that your school and staff will flourish.

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Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE
NBOA President and CE

What leadership trends will have the greatest impact on independent schools in the months ahead? Three items on a list recently compiled by the Forbes Coaches Council (top business and career coaches) spotlighted for me not only where our schools need to go in this increasingly competitive educational market, but also how we are in some ways already taking the lead. I hope you’re as emboldened by them as I am.

Encouraging All Team Members to Be Brand Ambassadors

This is consistent with conversations I continue to have with independent school leaders across the country. It is no longer enough to rely on a great website, social media platform or direct mail campaign to communicate the value of your school’s educational program. In today’s competitive market, it is critical that everyone associated with your school succinctly and consistently share what the school uniquely provides better than the alternatives do. And I do mean everyone, from the head of school and admissions staff to faculty, parents, trustees, students and the business officer.

Making the Organization a Truly Customer-Centric Business

This concept goes hand in hand with my latest Net Assets “Projections” column. Our competitive positioning as providers of a premium-level service hinges on our ability to align world-class education, world-class business operations and world-class customer service. Every day, our faculty are on the front lines delivering education as well as interacting with parents, influencing the annual decision to return or not. Likewise, every member of your faculty and staff — from the front-door receptionist to the academic leaders to the administrative leaders in advancement, admissions and beyond — must embrace the role of service provider. By providing parents with a high level of service and responding to their concerns appropriately, you will reinforce their decision to continue at your school.

Proactively Elevating and Retaining Women Leaders

Finally, independent school leaders are uniquely able to support women in leadership roles within our schools and within our faculty and administration. For example, while women comprise only a little more than 12 percent of chief financial officers in the for-profit sector, women serve in CFO roles in more than 55 percent of NBOA’s member schools. This is just one example of independent schools getting it right. Let’s strive to get it right in every department, demonstrating proudly that independent schools are the place for women educators and administrators to flourish.

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Follow NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shields @shieldsNBOA.
From Net Assets NOW, February 13, 2018. Read past issues of CEO Notebook.

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