20-Minute Mentors

How Do I Lead Change from the Middle?

Change is sweeping through higher education. Major strategic choices come from university leadership rather than deans and department chairs. The deans and department chairs represent the middle management where actual change must be implemented. This 20-Minute Mentor helps explicate the causes of these changes and the strategies to address the need for change.

Piece of paper says the words, "Embrace change"

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How Do I Lead Change from the Middle?

New technology, regulatory upheaval, changing student demographics, longstanding faculty expectations, shifting workforce demands, and ever-changing university operations leave deans and department chairs adrift within a sea of undifferentiated information and competing demands. Major strategic choices come from university leadership leaving deans and chairs to focus on innovation management. Through insights developed in higher education and other industries, this program helps participants focus on the key drivers most important to foster positive change and department cohesion while enabling the leadership to succeed with the limited authority afforded to deans and department chairs.

Purchase the How Do I Lead Change from the Middle? 20-Minute Mentor program, presented by Jon Garon. Continue to be a member of your own team through teaching and scholarship.

Learning Goals

After this program, participants will be able to:

  • Identify key drivers changing schools and colleges
  • Craft a strategy for strategic improvement
  • Provide concrete leadership strategies to manage primary challenges
  • Emphasize techniques to enhance student learning outcomes
  • Increase buy-in for faculty, staff, and senior administration

Topics Covered

What are Soft Skills?

  • Disruptors are never perfect, finished, or ready substitutes: they dont start as for everyone
  • Disruption requires breathing space
  • Most disruptors fail, history simply ignores them
  • How Deans/Chairs manage the disruptions:
    • Step 1: Embrace who you are – understand role of middle management and the separation between both the faculty who were your former peers and the university senior leadership who are distinct
    • Step 2: Find your place within the middle: Work to enhance the Dean/Chairs resiliency; self-awareness; learning agility; systematic thinking; communication agility; and influence
    • Step 3: Accept complexity – there are no perfect solutions, and most early disruptions are of poorer quality than the existing solution. But the existing strategy leaves out potential new markets.
    • Step 4: Find/Retain your Passion for Change and Leadership: humble, stewardship, empowering, and authentic
  • How Deans/Chairs Lead through the Disruptions:
    • Command the Bully Pulpit – Disruptive innovation is essential. Runs towards it to manage it. Embrace the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity
    • Embrace pastoral leadership with quiet, warmth, and support
    • Continue to be a member of your own team through teaching and scholarship
    • Manage the flow of information
    • Support the core business of your university and your college
  • As the incumbents, coopt the disruption of others
  • Disruption is inevitable, plan accordingly


This program will benefit:

  • Deans
  • Department Chairs

Product Code: OM19ID

Campus Access License

With the purchase of the optional Campus Access License, registrants are granted a license to download the program contents to a password-protected network, server, or website for additional staff use. You will receive information on downloading the contents of the program within 3-5 business days after payment has been received by Magna.

Meet Your Presenter

Piece of paper says the words, "Embrace change"

Purchase Options

*On-demand access begins on date of purchase.

If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, you may cancel the order within 30 days of purchase and receive a full refund.

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20-Minute Mentors

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