Leaders and managers in today’s professional spaces are finding that a radically changing landscape demands from them new and more dynamic competencies. For example, suppose you’re an organizational leader who needs to create and implement a marketing strategy to contend with tougher competition, yet marketing was not part of the original job description. Where do you acquire the knowledge to execute this role or to know who to hire to do it well? Or suppose you’re expected to grow the organization significantly through business planning, yet business planning is outside your area of expertise. Or suppose a widening, changing constituency requires differentiated communication skills.

As a teacher,  administrator, or principal (for example), it used to be that you served only a few different groups: students and/or parents and/or a superior or two. Today, there are often multiple stakeholders in and out of the physical school: administrators, teachers, unions, elected officials, parent groups, nonprofits, alternative funding sources, and private sector partners, to name a few. Some of these stakeholders may have a direct line to the school leader while others have a dotted line; yet all of them expect a deliverable.

For a long time, organizational leadership was defined narrowly, far narrower than is demanded today. Lessons about educational leadership came from within the trade – but that no longer suffices. As a leader, you need to look outside your field and your sector to other industries, plucking leadership lessons from wherever and whomever you can.

The siloed approach to management stifles innovation and isolates leaders from ideas and networks that could support transformative organizational change.

That is one of the driving 21st-century principles behind the NYU Steinhardt EdD program. We have designed it to maximize collaboration between students who make up the cohort, so that they learn from each other and one another’s industries. When you collaborate with people from beyond your sector, all parties find better solutions to their organizational challenges. In the education field, it’s increasingly popular for private-sector institutions to interface with government entities or nonprofits. Working together, industries are able to address major challenges in today’s education ecosystem.

There are challenges, of course, to partnering across sectors. Is there a common language you can speak? What does partnership really mean? What is the value proposition for each party? The often-siloed thinking of yesterday is simply too isolated for today’s endlessly connected world. We are dismantling the walls between sectors so that the best ideas and practices in each space can be shared.

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