Renewal of strategic planning needs to be done within a deeper conceptual framework than is usually the case. By shifting the ideological register from management to leadership, we can achieve much of the intellectual reorientation needed. Yet transitions must be made, and this requires the use of insights from multiple sources and disciplines. No single language or method, empirical, cultural, managerial or otherwise, is sufficient for this task. We must cross boundaries to see strategy as both an integrated and indivisible process. All of the methods that are complete and comprehensive have to be integrated, both in its intellectual foundations and in its range of practical applications. I ask the reader to understand that I am using the term strategy to include fundamental issues such as organizational identity, values, and vision, not just to refer to a set of managerial practices or a brand's competitive position in the marketplace.

Reinventing itself as strategic leadership requires consideration of deeper questions in strategy, many of which have been raised by contemporary students of leadership. There is no way around the complex issues of the meaning of leadership and strategy in the context of human agency. It is the assumption that humans are in charge of their own conduct, determining the meaning and direction of their lives through the implementation of their values and beliefs. Considered in this light, leadership involves various forms of organizational sensemaking and sensemaking that depend on processes of mutual influence between leaders and the led. Values are powerful in shaping the decision-making practices of cultures and institutions, especially colleges and universities. I am convinced by both study and experience that organizational articulations of identity and aspirations are important dimensions of strategic leadership and are essential to understanding human agency and leadership as interactive processes. Paradigms as fundamental assumptions of thought and belief are the key to gaining awareness of the hidden frames of reference in organizational decision-making. The three intertwined motifs of values, narratives, and paradigms provide a conceptual framework for both the theory and practice of strategic leadership.

By shedding this new conceptual light on strategy development, we are able to see more clearly the distinct forms of leadership that are present in strategy work in college settings, such as shaping and articulating a sense of purpose and vision. Schools and universities are loosely organized or connected and lack a uniform hierarchical structure of authority to define their purpose. As a result, they must have sensitive and effective ways of understanding and telling their identity stories, which is an important dimension of leadership. Sensemaking includes the use of rational principles, managerial systems, or the development of empirical explanations but goes beyond and focuses on understanding values and narratives as organizational enactments. The book's argument therefore proceeds by analyzing data, connecting concepts, drawing hypotheses and paradigms, exploring values and descriptions, and exploring deeper implications for educational decision-making practices. I seek to articulate the ways in which narratives and commitments shape the general flow of experience as well as the formal decision-making systems of academic cultures.

To fully understand the possibilities and limitations of strategic leadership, it is necessary to consider the intersection of theory and practice. The way we think about the deeper meaning of strategy certainly affects the way we formulate policy. Without a strong conceptual foundation, strategy is a set of managerial techniques that are unable to connect systematically with the larger demands of leadership in academic communities. Conversely, without defined steps of applied discipline and a process of implementation, leadership cannot consistently shape the actual decisions of the organization. Reconceptualization of strategy therefore involves revising it and attempting to redefine and integrate many of its processes, mechanisms and processes. Although the work turns to ideological arguments, it never leaves the realities and procedures of academic decision-making. In many ways the book is intended to be a conceptual and practical guide to new approaches to policy. It may seem to represent an aspect of another phase in the evolution of strategy that integrates strategic planning and management with leadership.

Evidence supporting this integrative argument comes in many forms. So much of the work involves drawing analytical conclusions, making connections, and interpreting various other works, some of which are empirical and others case-based or interpretive. Other tests of an argument are largely philosophical and concern its coherence and consistency. A related form of evaluation involves testing the ability of ideas to represent and describe personal and professional experience appropriately and accurately. In particular, the analysis illuminates the experience of others and the understanding of strategy in relation to organizational values, emotion generation and leadership.

The book also includes advice and a large number of recommendations for effective and useful ways to develop strategy processes. In many instances, these claims are supported by case studies or form part of policy research and literature. Many suggestions about best practices have been shaped by professional experience as faculty and staff members, college presidents, corporate and nonprofit board members and chairs, seminar leaders, and strategy consultants.

I am fully aware that the arguments and recommendations represent a significant reframing of strategy work in educational settings. Although the argument for strategic leadership is consistently emphasized, I recognize that this endeavor is exploratory and that many of its claims need to be confirmed by a variety of experiences, research, and analysis. My aim is to bring together various insights about strategy and leadership developed in different contexts and to encourage others to explore these and other models.