Almost a year after the graduates of Cohort 23 of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership returned to their professional arenas in order to implement their social and educational visions, the Mandel Graduate Unit held a workshop designed to introduce them to techniques for leading change processes in complex organizational settings by involving stakeholders in the cause.
Theories of stakeholders were developed in order to help for-profit organizations to achieve their goals, lead changes, and overcome fierce competition in the free market, but they are equally applicable to the nonprofit sector. Graduates of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership work with many internal and external organizational interfaces. For this reason, it is vital that they are able to manage their stakeholders effectively. When implementing change, graduates must identify stakeholders who are holding back organizational change and those who are working to help the process succeed.
The session opened with a talk from Michal Cohen, general director of the Rashi Foundation and former director general of the Ministry of Education, who shared her experience in stakeholder management from both a personal and professional perspective. Cohen explained that our technological age, in which “everyone is available to everyone,” is characterized by the need to manage complexity, due to the collapse of hierarchies and the blurring of boundaries. Leading organizational processes requires building working relationships with partners, getting professional stakeholders on board, and setting clear boundaries. Today, she said, CEOs must know how to get help from experts, motivate stakeholders, build trust, and develop partnerships in order to attain their organization’s goals.
Sharona Bar-Nes, a senior staff member of the Mandel Graduate Unit, described different models for managing stakeholders in vision-driven organizations. These range from defining primary goals, values, and targets, to mapping stakeholders and strategically planning actions with each of them. She presented the theoretical aspects of these models and demonstrated how they are expressed in the educational and social arena.
The workshop also included individual work in which each participant identified the stakeholders in his or her professional contexts. After this, the graduates gathered in small groups and participated in peer learning and a discussion of how to reduce opposition and recruit supporters and partners for organizational processes.