Sample Critical Thinking Paper on Share Culture and Vision and Scholarly Community

Leadership demands more than just leading and making decisions on behalf of an organization or community within which the organization is operating. Good leaders go beyond their basic roles in leadership to create a vision and a culture that they hope to achieve within a stipulated time. This is especially true for leaders in a higher education institution who must not only create a shared vision for the institution agreeable among stakeholders, but also a shared culture that is performance driven, and like the shared vision, agreeable among stakeholders (Casey, 2005). It is largely the expectation of the community that an institution’s leader will move it to new, exciting and prosperous direction, as he/she represents the best hope for the children within the community, in addition to developing a culture geared towards the achievement of the shared vision (Casey, 2005). How then can a leader create a shared vision and culture among stakeholders and harness a collaborative culture in order to fuse alumni and the community at large into a vibrant community of scholars?

Building a community of scholars and improvement in the collaborative nature of an institution and the stakeholders requires concerted efforts and the creation of a shared vision (Collins-Camargo & Hall, 2010). A more developed institution will strive to involve most of the stakeholders in the development of a vision, which would undergo regular redoing as an operational vision. The first step towards creation of a shared vision therefore would be for the leader to allow the stakeholders to experience the vision (Schmidt, 2014).  Here, the leader identifies the stakeholders within the community who are influential and can help in driving the vision, and share with them the details of the vision (Casey, 2005).

The vision at this point should be flexible, being able to accept some of the suggestions from the stakeholders, who then agree on the final vision, which caters for both the students in the institution and the community at large, particularly yielding strong impact on both (Casey, 2005).  As a second step in the creation of the vision, the elements within the vision should include the identification of skills and knowledge for the preparation of students for their future lives within the community and being future-based, to ensure that the vision becomes a continuous process in the institution and the community (Casey, 2005).

Stakeholders involved in the creation of a shared vision include teachers, parents, leaders in the community as well as public and private organizations. It is particularly important to involve both public and private organizations as they help in creating public-private collaborations, which bring into the vision top leadership, administrators and expertise (Collins-Camargo & Hall, 2010). By bringing all these people together, the institution’s leadership ensures that students from the institution are modeled according to the society’s standards, which then allows them to get into the system and contribute towards the community’s well-being.

Part of the reason for choosing the stakeholders aforementioned is the role these stakeholders will play after the creation of the vision. After bringing them together and creating the vision, the next step would be communicating this vision to the rest of the community (Collins-Camargo & Hall, 2010). Given their influential positions therefore, the stakeholders become the messengers of the institution, communicating the vision at the different levels.

Yet the vision does not stop at its communication to the rest of the community; the institutional leadership must then begin to implement the vision, taking care to infuse both first and second order changes. First order changes improve the existing practices, through strategies, making them more effective and efficient, while second-order changes endeavor at altering the basic organizational components with the inclusion of roles, goals and structures (Huffman, 2013).

Closely related to a shared vision is a shared culture, which also plays a vital role in supporting effective collaboration and the building of a community of scholars. A shared culture looks beyond individual differences to become a healthy magnet that pulls a community together created through common stories, language, purpose, plans, results and ownership. Within an institution, and for the purpose of creating a collaborative community of scholars, the shared culture must begin with the leadership (Turregano & Gaffney, 2012). It is therefore the role of the leader in a higher learning institution to establish a shared culture, one that can easily rub onto stakeholders, who then spread the culture to the rest of the community, working with the leader in ensuring the culture becomes part of the wider community.

The first step towards creating a shared culture bridging the institution’s culture across both formal and informal relationships the institution has with the community. This the leadership can do by opening communication channels with the stakeholders, relaying to them what it is the leadership hopes to establish within the community (Turregano & Gaffney, 2012). The realization of the inability to mandate culture, and that it takes time to establish a shared culture; cutting across both the horizontal and vertical levels of an institution and the community helps in establishing the right strategy for establishing a shared culture (Turregano & Gaffney, 2012).

The leadership must therefore open the channels of communication, through developing stories that illustrate what the institution stands for.  Such stories must span different departments, bridging both the official and unofficial relational networks across the multiple operational levels (Turregano & Gaffney, 2012). The shared stories should therefore illustrate the purposes, orientation, challenges and victory that the stakeholders and the institution share in common.

After establishing shared stories, the leadership must endeavor to create shared beliefs. This goes beyond the payment, stories and achievement of the institution to the decision among stakeholders on why they prefer the institution to others. The leadership in this case must create element that inspired conviction among stakeholders on why they should believe in leadership and the institution. The idea here therefore is to create a set of core beliefs supported by the stakeholders, so that decisions, relations and expectations are molded against these core beliefs, so much that even new stakeholders are inculcated into these at their arrival.

Beyond the open communication channels and shared beliefs is creation of shared plans, leadership, purpose and ownership. The leadership, even in opening communication channels, must provide feedback and relay the institution’s plans to its stakeholders (Turregano & Gaffney, 2012). This way, the stakeholders feel a sense of shared purpose as they all work towards a common goal, as well as feel a sense of ownership of the plan. This ultimately becomes an established culture, which catches up onto successive leadership, the stakeholders and the community at large.

Leadership plays a significant role in creating a shared vision and culture among stakeholders. For academic institutions, establishing a shared vision and culture are especially important for harnessing collaboration from alumni and therefore creating a vibrant community of scholars. By building a culture of ongoing quality review, feedback and improvement through creation of a strong quality assurance within an institution, leaders can harness a collaborative culture that fuses alumni and the community at large into a vibrant community of scholars.

References

Casey, J. M. (2005). Practitioners guide to creating a shared vision. Leadership, 35(1), 26-30

Collins-Camargo, C. & Hall, J. (2010). How Creating a Share Vision Can Improve More than Outcomes. Policy & Practice, 68(3), 10-11

Huffman, J. (2013). The Role of Shared Values and Vision in Creating Professional Learning Communities. National Association of Secondary School Principals. NASSP Bulletin, 87(637), 21-34

Schmidt, A. (2014). Creating a Common Vision. Library Journal, 139(2)

Turregano, C. G., & Gaffney, T. G. (2012). Creating a shared leadership culture through multilevel development. Public Manager, 41(3), 18-21.