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  • This paper describes the development and validation of a tool to assess an individual’s possession of a strategic thinking mindset
  • Context Driven Hambrick (1989) argues that strategic leadership occurs in an environment embedded in ambiguity, complexity, and informational overload. The ability to execute the statement of intent in such environments is dependent on realized performance improvements, resource availability, and the readiness of the organization to change. Returning to the concept of strategic inflection points (Burgelman & Grove, 1996), we suggest that SIPs create a kairotic moment in which the organization and its members are particularly receptive to charismatic, transformational, and visionary processes. It is during these kairotic moments that learning and change are possible if only the leader possesses the discernment to take notice and the wisdom to act. What is needed now is a better understanding of which leaders can take advantage of these SIPs as well as research that explores how these factors inuence the charismatic and transformational relationship Lord and Hall (1992) suggest that leadership effectiveness may hinge more on social intelli­gence and behavioral flexibility than other factors cognitive and behavioral complexity and social intelligence form the foundation for absorptive capacity, capacity to change, and managerial wisdom.   What is the role of leadership in systems where change often emerges in unexpected ways? In complex systems leaders enable rather than control the future. While traditional views of leadership focus leader responsibility for determining and directing the future through control mechanisms As enablers leaders disrupt existing patterns and make sense of emerging events for others Conant and Ashby’s (1970) principle of requisite variety, change agents are more likely to be successful when their mental models of change match the complexity of the change processes unfolding in their organization. Exploration includes things captured by terms such as search, variation, risk taking, experimentation, play, flexibility, discovery, innovation. Exploitation includes such things as refinement, choice, production, efficiency, selection, implementation, execution. Adaptive systems that engage in exploration to the exclusion of exploitation are likely March and Simon (1958), dissatisfaction with existing conditions stimulates people to search for improved conditions, and people stop searching when a satisfactory result is found. Sustained organizational performance is rooted in exploiting existing competences and exploring new opportunities (He & Wong, 2004; Gibson & Birkinshaw, 2004 Life trajectory important inflection points caused bv fundamental industry dynamics technologies strategies Learn from past, adapt to the present, and envision and create the future Learning and change are based upon either exploitation of core competencies or exploration for new opportunities (March, 1991). Exploitation without exploration can lead to specialization and excess, to confidence and contentment, to dogma and ritual, to death. The ability of a firm to avoid the seduction of success and change, while maintaining performance, is a function of both its capacity to change and its ability to learn (Black & Boal, 1996; Boal & Hooijberg, 2000).tion
  • Leaders Fail because Habit #1 They think linearly rather than holistically and fail in context’s filled with ambiguity and complexity. Habit #2 They use a limited set of leadership actions. Habit #3 They do not identify vital societal and institutional forces in their environment. Habit #4 They overuse measurement and seek to rationally plan their way to success. Habit #5 They do not see their organization as dependent on others’ actions and views. Habit #6 They do not do not connect the main ideas of necessary changes to the minds and spirit of their followers. Therefore their followers cannot be empowered and self managed. Principles suggested by the new science Uncertainty Ambiguity Complexity Non Linearity Interdependence Unpredictability Environmental scanning Co-evolution Emergence Sense making Reality is Constructed Adaptive Work
  • The assumption being that high environmental complexity requires leaders with high cognitive and behavioral complexity (Bass, 2007; Hambrick & Mason, 1984; Hooijberg and Quinn 1992; Mintzberg & Waters, 1982). Modern leaders must possess a strategic mindset, which is developed through the application of advanced cognitive capabilities. Dweck (2006), Kegan and Leahy (2009), and Pisapia (2009) have argued persuasively how well-developed methods of processing information, training, and experience leads to mindsets that hinder attempts to achieve adaptive change. They conclude that mindset – our learned assumptions and methods - drive every aspect of our lives, from work to play to relationships. If they are correct, then the ability of school leaders to deal with change lies in how school leaders think and how they help their members prepare for continuous professional development and school improvement.
  • Strategic thinking is about thinking centered on ends, strategies, and tactics. It is only meaningful in a context. The greater the capacity to use strategic thinking skills; the greater the ability to make consequential decisions about ends, strategies, and tactics. Great strategic thinkers have a systems perspective, are intent driven, creative, intuitive, integrative, and analytica There are other types of thinking; convergent, divergent, inductive, deductive, critical and creative. But unless they speak to identifying purpose –and the steps to put purpose into practice, they are not strategic. Creativity and change is a product of multiple rather than fixed mindsets. e. g., Sigmund Freud, once said of his creativity: "You often estimate me too highly. For I am not really a man of science, not an observer, not an experimenter, and not a thinker. I am nothing but by temperament a conquistador - an adventurer - with the curiosity, the boldness, and the tenacity of that type of being" (Jones, 1961 see p 227). intent!!! Here is what it means! When you hear the word strategic think purpose, priorities, and the tactics you use to achieve your purpose. #Strategy is about finding the future and making it happen. strategic thinking is about thinking centered on end and means. SLers create #strategy in the form of a statement of strategic intent to align, integrate, and develop oherence around a common, focused direction. SL Theory - The Statement of Intent is your #strategy; it describes your path to the future. SLers use the Strategic Thinking Protocol to develop and set their strategy. Try it!. It will move you from good to great! strategic thinking enables the leader to recognize interdependencies, interrelationships and patterns, and make consequential decisions using both powers of analysis and intuition. Individuals with strategic thinking skills have the ability : To apply information and concepts to practice. To see the organization as a whole. To understand how various parts of the organization relate to and affect each other. To diagnose, analyze, and synthesize. To discern meaning in and to establish relationships among events and bits of information that at first glance would appear to be discrete and unrelated.
  • Since age bias is present, there are implications for teaching at early entry career levels. Several studies have been completed. Pisapia, Reyes-Guerra, and Yasin studied 138 for-profit and not-for-profit managers and executives. Pang and Pisapia conducted a study of 543 school principals in Hong Kong. Pisapia, Reyes-Guerra, Zsiga studied 540 YMCA directors in the United States.  Pisapia, Pang, Fatt and Ling studied 328 students preparing for educational management roles in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Shanghai and the United States. Our overall conclusion is that successful leaders use the three strategic thinking capabilities more often than less successful leaders. Six major impressions were left from statistical analyses in 5 studies. Strategic thinking is strongly associated with self reported effectiveness. Supervisors and managers in our data base score lower than the executives as expected. However, the high performers in each category used these mental skills significantly more often than less successful managers. There is a cumulative impact when the three capabilities which form the strategic thinking construct are used. The strength of the relationship between strategic thinking and leader success increases as leaders use the three dimensions in tandem. There is a significant relationship between strategic thinking capabilities and self directed learning. The STQ appears free of cultural and gender bias; but reveals an age bias. The use of these skills improves with age, experience, and education– the younger you are the less you use these skills. Strategic thinking capabilities can be developed through training that encourages a more open mindset.
  • SLers develop four core competencies to run this system. SLers work in a generative way that enables them to apply THE SL Method tasks: (a) anticipating changes, challenges and opportunities in internal and external environments, (b) creating and articulating common values and direction in a generative/minimum specifications manner, (c) establishing and using social capital to mobilize actions, and (d) building the capacity of their organizations by anchoring the learning in engaged self managed followers/teams. The greater their capacity to use Strategic Thinking Skills; the greater is their ability to make consequential decisions about ends, strategies, and tactics. SLers can see the invisible ties that link individuals together and to the organization.
  • Location explains approximately 4% of the variance in reflection and 3% of the variance in systems thinking. Examination of the means for each location indicates that Borneo used systems thinking and reflecting skills significantly more than Shanghai and HK. The USA used systems thinking skills significantly more than Shanghai and reflecting significantly more than HK and Shanghai. HK used system thinking significantly more than Shanghai. KL used systems thinking and reflection significantly more than Shanghai. Shanghai used systems thinking and reflecting skills significantly less than all other locations. Gender produced no significant effects with the use of systems thinking and reflecting skills. Age explains approximately 11% of the variance in reflection and 15% of the variance in systems thinking. Respondents in the age category 20-25 reported using systems thinking and reflecting skills significantly less than all other age categories. No other age category produced significant inter-category effects. The means for both the use of systems thinking and reflecting skills rose from a low use for category 20-25 to higher use for age category 45-54
  • Stage 1--A self report quantitative assessment of the strategic thinking and strategic influence actions of school leaders was conducted. Stage 2—An observer quantitative assessment of school leader use of strategic thinking skills and influence actions was conducted Stage 3--Qualitative case studies in a few selected schools will be carried out so as to understand the complexity of the school environment and verify how school leader’s think and act.
  • Comparison of means Systems Thinking is significantly related to Transforming (ES=.31)– Managing (ES=.17)– Bonding (ES = .37)- Bridging (.24)


  • 1. How Hong Kong School Leaders Think and Act? Nicholas Pang, Professor Department of Ed Adm & Policy Chinese University of Hong Kong nskpang@cuhk.edu.hk • John Pisapia, Professor Department of Ed Leadership Florida Atlantic University jpisapia@fau.edu Public Research Seminar The Chinese University of Hong Kong May 5, 2012 The authors would like to express their gratitude to the Research Grant Council of Hong Kong for the support of this research (RGC Ref. No.: 452710)05/13/12 RGC Study 452710 1
  • 2. Why do we need to Lead Differently?The Power of the Curve Disruptive Innovation 05/13/12 - Pisapia RGC Study 452710 2
  • 3. The Lessons of the CurveLesson #1Old maps do not work! Disruptive change and globalization are challenging the legitimacy of legacy command and control models of leadership.Lesson #2 These NEW conditions reward leaders who are:Cognitively complex. They are able to use a wide array of thinking skills Synthesis as well as Analysis Creative Thinking as well as Critical Thinking Abstractly as well as ConcretelyLesson #3 Use a multi-dimensional set of leader influence actions 05/13/12 - Pisapia RGC Study 452710 3 3
  • 4. S t u d y A im sThis study investigates how Leader thinking and actions is related with organizational learning capacity. The study was framed by four questions:2. What is the level of school leader’s use of strategic thinking skills? (systems thinking, reframing, and reflection)3. What is the level of school leader’s use of leader influence actions? (transforming, managing, bonding, bridging, and bartering)4. Is there a link between school leaders strategic thinking skills and leader influence actions?5. Is there a link between school leader influence actions and organizational learning452710 05/13/12 RGC Study capacity? 4
  • 5. “He who controlsothers may bepowerful, but hewho has masteredhimself is mightierstill." 05/13/12 RGC Study 452710 5
  • 6. Competency #1 Leaders must possess an Agile mind.They use strategic thinking skills-systems thinking - reflection - reframing - which enable them to think strategically. These skills make it possible to recognize patterns, make sense out of seemingly unrelated information. They use them to switch from a strategic mindset -“Why and What” - to a tactical mindset -“How and When” - in a rapid and iterative processes when appropriate. 05/13/12 RGC Study 452710 6
  • 7. The Strategic Thinking Skills Reasoning Forward Critical Holistic Analytical Synthesis Solutions Strategic Convergent Evaluative Divergent Deductive Creative Tactical Integrative Pragmatic Intuitive Practical Future Inductive05/13/12 Linear RGC Study 452710 7 Non Linear 7
  • 8. Table 1 Subscales of the Strategic Thinking Questionnaire (STQ)StrategicThinking DescriptionSkillsSystems Systems thinking refers to the leader’s ability to see systemsThinking holistically by understanding the properties, forces, patterns and interrelationships that shape the behavior of the system, which hence provides options for action. Reflecting refers to the leader’s ability to weave logical andReflecting rational thinking, through the use of perceptions, experience and information, to make judgments on what has happened, and creation of intuitive principles that guide future actions. Reframing refers to the leader’s ability to switch attention across multiple perspectives, frames, mental models, andReframing paradigms to generate new insights and options for actions. Pisapia
  • 9. The results from 15 studies using the STQ suggest 2.Leader Thinking is related to self reported, observerreported, and objective measures of leader effectiveness. 3.The use of systems thinking is the most used andexplains the largest part of the variance in effectiveness 4.There is a cumulative impact - The strength of therelationship Thinking and Effectiveness increases as leadersuse the three dimensions in tandem. 5.The younger, less experienced, and educated you arethe less you use these skills. Strategic thinking skills can bedeveloped through training. Study 452710 05/13/12 RGC 9 Pisapia
  • 10. Competency #2 Leaders use multiple actions.They are able to create momentum by usingmanaging - transforming - bonding - bridging -bartering - actions.They use these actions in a generative waybecause they know that change will be fast ifpeople are engaged - slow – if not! 05/13/12 RGC Study 452710 10
  • 11. Artistry The Mega Skill Tr Ma an n ag sf or There are two i ng m in g directional actionsB o ndi ng ARTISTRYBr i d gi ng ring Ba rt e There are three relational actions 05/13/12 RGC Study 452710 11 11
  • 12. Table 2 Subscales of the Strategic Action Questionnaire (SAQ) Leader Description Actions Managing actions are taken to maintain consistency in order that currentManaging organizational goals are accomplished efficiently and effectively. Transforming actions are taken to influence direction, actions, and opinions in order to change organizational conditions and culture so thatTransforming learning and change occur as a normal routine of the organization. Bonding actions are taken to ensure that trust is an attribute of the system and not just something developed among individuals in orderBonding that followers exhibit emotional commitment to the organizations aspirations and values. Bridging actions are taken to develop alliances with people of power and influence from outside and inside the organization in order to gainBridging insights, support, and resources. Bartering actions are taken to give something in exchange in orderBartering to strengthen the effectiveness of relationships and alliance building efforts.
  • 13. The results from 7 studies using the SAQ suggest Leaders use of the Influence Actions is related to selfreported, observer reported, and objective measures ofleader effectiveness Transforming, Bonding, and Bridging actions wereassociated with more cohesive culture in schools. The use of Leader actions is influenced by leader roleand school level. As complexity of the context increases Leaders usemore Bridging, Bartering, and Transforming actions. Leader discretion is related to use of influence actions Mandated policies require managerial authority. Free choice policies Transforming, Bonding, Bartering, 05/13/12 and Bridging actions RGC Study 452710 Pisapia are effective. 13
  • 14. Figure 2. The Research Framework of the Current Study Leader Cognitive Complexity Leader Behavioral Organizational Change Complexity Capacity The Strategic Action Change Capacity The Strategic Thinking Questionnaire (SAQ) Questionnaire (CCQ) Questionnaire (STQ) Transforming Empowerment Systems Thinking Managing Teacher Efficacy Reflecting Bridging Organizational Learning Reframing Bonding Leaders Effectiveness BarteringSize Setting Level Tradition Staff working Teacher School experience Demography Demography Contextual Variables Research Stage I: Strategic Thinking and Leadership in Hong Kong Schools: A Leaders’ Self-reporting Study Research Stage II: Strategic Thinking and Leadership in Hong Kong Schools: An Organizational Study from Teachers’ Perspective Research Stage III: Strategic Thinking and Leadership: Case Studies of Hong Kong Schools Pang
  • 15. Table 3 Subscales of the Change Capacity Questionnaire (CCQ) School Description OutcomesTeacher The extent to which the school develops teachers’ competence toEmpowerment achieve the school’s goals and missions through enhancing their personal capacity and professional growth, promoting a greater degree of participation as well as allowing a higher degree of autonomy in problem solving.Teacher Self- The extent to which the teacher believes that he or she has the capacityEfficacy in achieving the school’s goals and missions, to have a control of the reinforcement of their actions, and to make a difference in student outcomes.Organizational The extent to which the school has the capacity to cope both internalLearning and external changes by establishing a flexible organizational structure, incorporating effective policies and processes, and building teams that work collaboratively in achieving the school goals and missions.Leader The extent to which the school leader has effectively exercised his/herEffectiveness leadership in coping with the challenges of change and educational reforms and deriving strategies that sustains the school’s short-term and long-term development. Pang
  • 16. Study Variables Strategic thinking skills Strategic Influence Actions• Systems Thinking • Transforming• Reframing • Managing• Reflection • Bonding • Bridging • Bartering Change Capacity Moderators• Teacher Empowerment • Age • School Level• Teacher Self-Efficacy • Experience • School Gender• Organizational Learning • Gender • School MOI• Leader Effectiveness • Position • School Funding • School Level 05/13/12 RGC Study 452710 16 Pang
  • 17. Method - StudyDesign Quantitative non-experimental Sample - ObserverCriterion variable #1 – Leader Influence •1647 Teachers = Elementary – 905 SecondaryActions (Managing, Transforming, Bonding, 570 Special Schools 46 [a total of 69 schools]Bridging, Bartering). Data CollectionCriterion variables#2 - Org Change Capacity Instruments:(Teacher empowerment, efficiency, learning •SAQ© self measures the five leader actions ofcapacity, leader effectiveness) Bridging, Bartering, Bonding, Managing - Transforming - 35 questions - 5-point Likert scale.Predictor variables – Leader Cognitive skills •STQ©self measures three thinking skills: systems(systems thinking, reflection, reframing) thinking, reflecting, and reframing.Hypotheses •CCQ observer measures teacher empowerment,• Thinking would not be associated Influence efficiency, learning capacity, and leader effectiveness. Actions Questionnaire (CCQ)– 25 questions – 6 point Likert• Thinking and actions would not be scale. associated with Organizational Learning Reliability: All reliability alphas > .68. Capacity Validity: STQ/SAQ factor models exceeded 52% of• Leader actions would not be associated with the variance. Psychometrically validated in the USA Org Learning Capacity (Reyes-Guerra 2009; Pisapia 2009), and in China (Pang• Contextual Factors would moderate & Pisapia, 2010; Pang & Pisapia, 2012). Thinking -Influence Actions - and their Features: Omission rate and inconsistency index relationship. Data AnalysisSample - Self Correlation and RegressionSchools Elementary 258 – Secondary 325 – Special Study 452710 05/13/12 RGC Pang 17Schools 36.
  • 18. Figure 3.A path model of the relationship among strategic thinking and leader actions 0.27 Transforming Systems Thinking 0.35 0.26 Reframing Managing 0.11 0.49 Bonding 0.48 Reflection 0.23 Bridging 0.15 Bartering (X Variables) Figures are given as standardized coefficients of beta and are significant at 0.00 level. (Y Variables) 05/13/12 RGC Study 452710 Pisapia 18 18
  • 19. Figure 4.A path model of the relationship among leader actions and the School’s Change Capacity Transforming 0.19 Teacher Empowerment Managing 0.59 0.13 0.07 Teacher Self- Bridging 0.51 Efficacy -0.10 0.48 Bonding 0.29 Organizational Learning -0.16 Bartering 0.43 0.42 Leader Effectiveness (X Variables) Figures are given as standardized coefficients of beta and are (Y Variables) significant at 0.001 level. 05/13/12 Pang RGC Study 452710 19
  • 20. How leaders think relates to how they act!05/13/12 RGC Study 452710 20
  • 21. Preliminary Conclusions How Hong School Leaders Think The Hong Kong school leaders thinking profile is systems thinking, reframing, and reflection.  The rank order remains the same from principal to senior masters but the use of each thinking skills decreases at each level.  Systems Thinking is used more often than reframing and reflection by principals, vice principals, and senior masters at the secondary and primary levels.  Reflection is the least often thinking skill used by principals, vice principals, and senior masters at the secondary and primary levels. How Hong School Leaders Act The Hong Kong school leader’s action profile is Bonding, Transforming, and managing. Principals use bridging more often than vice principals or senior masters. 05/13/12 Pisapia RGC Study 452710 21
  • 22. Preliminary Conclusions How Hong Kong School Leaders Act Cognitive and Behavioral Complexity are linked. Hong Kong school leaders, who demonstrated higher use of strategic thinking skills, also reported greater use of managing, transforming, bridging and bondingBehavioral complexity and Organizational LearningCapacity are linked. School leaders, who demonstrated higher use ofstrategic thinking skills, also reported greater use ofmanaging, transforming, bridging and bonding Pang
  • 23. Preliminary Conclusions School leadership is a contextualized practice.Position held was the most influential predictor of the use of the threestrategic thinking skills and the five strategic actions.Local culture is a stronger influence on the way school leaders think andact than societal culture. Societal and/or group culture does not influence the use of directional actions of managing and transforming. Societal culture significantly influences the use of maneuvering actions of bonding, bridging, and bartering. Group culture significantly influences the use of maneuvering variables of bonding, bridging and bartering. Pisapia 05/13/12 RGC Study 452710 23
  • 24. Recommendations For School Leaders, Cultivate strategic thinking skills, leader influence actions. For governing bodies, invest in training For Universities, incorporate syntheses as well as analysis, and creative as well as critical thinking skills into their curricula. Pang 05/13/12 RGC Study 452710 24
  • 25. Thank you! Q&A05/13/122011 15th ICOTEAP Seminar RGC Study 452710Pang & Pisapia Pang & Pisapia 25 25