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Pandemic Response:

Managing Your Organization During Extreme Disruption

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“Best of” Resources for Leading Your Organization through (and beyond) COVID-19

These unprecedented times call on all of us to bring our best expertise and insights to lead organizations with resilience and agility through COVID-19 and plan smartly for a sustainable post-pandemic future. Even though the first “crisis response” phase is past, every week brings a blizzard of ideas, perspectives and approaches. We’ve collected our picks among the “best of” resources to assist you as you make critical decisions for the next 6, 12 and 18 months, and plan for the longer term.

Many of these resources have provided open-access to their articles and research, while a few may still require a subscription or membership. If you’d like to discuss the implications for your organization, we’re happy to share our additional insights about turning “best of” to the “best fit” for you.

We know many of you have made very successful adaptations to the ”transition normal” and are ending the year with new innovations and streamlined effectiveness. We wish you continued success as you embrace the coming months and tame the uncertainties ahead.  

Resources list:

McKinsey & Company

Reimagining the post-pandemic organization, May 15, 2020

To emerge stronger from COVID-19 crisis, companies should start reskilling their workforces now, May 7, 2020

From surviving to thriving, reimagining the post COVID-19 return, May 1, 2020

The future is not what it used to be: Thoughts on the shape of the next normal, April 14, 2020

Getting the next phase of remote learning right in higher education, April 23, 2020

A transformative moment for philanthropy, May 21, 2020


PwC, Strategy + Business 

How to respond when crisis becomes the new normal, April 17, 2020

Seven key actions business can take to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, Summer 2020

Talent Trends 2020 – Upskilling: Building confidence in an uncertain world – PwC’s 23rd global CEO survey, 2020


Bain & Company

Organizing for a digital world, February 18, 2018


Gensler (a design firm: cities, offices, spaces, innovation)

Design responds to a changing world (infographic and linked articles)

10 Considerations for Transitioning Back to Work in a Post Covid-19 World (space design), April 2020


Harvard Business Review

A post-pandemic strategy for US higher ed, June 2, 2020

Emerging from the crisis: How to lead through uncertainty and strengthen your organization for the long haul, July-August 2020


Fast Company

What to expect on your first day back in a touch-free socially distant office, May 15, 2020


New York Times

The end of college as we knew it? (Frank Bruni: Opinion), June 4, 2020



The great national experiment: universities return to campus operations, David Rosowsky, June 18, 2020

What Organizations Are Doing Now to Manage Change Effectively: 7 Pillars for Coping with Covid-19

In a crisis, let purpose and strategy be your “go to” pillars.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced organizations to move quickly to redesign work, home and social interactions in real time, choose priorities and accelerate change at warp-speed. This crisis challenges the very pillars on which we’ve built our universities, Advancement organizations, schools, businesses and nonprofits.

As companies and organizations navigate ambiguity and redesign a range of futures, several foundational practices can provide valuable pathways and platforms for re-engineering. Now more than ever, 7 pillars of organizations managing change effectively are driving their decisions as they plan for the next 12-18 months.

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Pivoting Into the Future of Higher Education: Leadership Communications in a Prolonged Crisis

Ask most college or university presidents or chancellors who have taken the helm in the last 10 years what their most important job is, and they will tell you it is finding ways to finance the operations of the institution through private and public resources. And though they may not often articulate it, the key to successful fundraising through private sources or advocacy for public funding is using a complex set of communications tools to reach prospective students, donors and public officials. Effective leadership communication, more than ever today, may very well be pivotal to the future of our higher education institutions. Leaders must make hard choices, almost on a daily basis, and the scenarios they face may be even tougher in the future.

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Why “Business Continuity Planning” Has New Urgency for Universities


With the advent of increased natural disaster frequency, prevalence of cyber-attacks, and a global pandemic (COVID-19) that has plunged global marketplaces into precarious territory, organizations have more reason than ever to plan for unanticipated threats to their ability to conduct business and keep personnel and assets protected. Colleges and universities are no exception. Not only are enrollment cycles threatened but fundraising – ongoing and major campaigns – immediately began to see their investment portfolios and thus operating cash from endowments slide drastically while anticipated pledge payments started faltering.

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Software Programs for Virtual Team Management:  Popular Options

Before the CoronaVirus (COVID-19) outbreak, many companies were already operating with a remote workforce, but the traditional office environment remained the de facto way to conduct business. Now that people in cities and countries across the globe are quarantined for the foreseeable future, companies that previously may not have had much understanding of how to accommodate its workers remotely are scrambling to get up to speed. Fortunately, there are many programs—many of them free—that are quick to implement and enable personnel to stay on top of their tasks from home, even when collaborating as a team. Read more >

Strategies to Effectively Manage Virtual Teams and Maintain Productivity


Companies with a global presence and offices and remote workers in multiple countries face a variety of challenges in maintaining productivity to ensure outcomes while managing employees and teams in multiple locations. Today, as organizations of all sizes transition rapidly to remote work, lessons from these organizations can help leapfrog them into the new mode of virtual work necessitated practically overnight by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Primary challenges include ensuring productivity from afar, establishing methods for effective communication, and streamlining project objectives and collaboration with multiple teams in far-flung locations. Broader challenges include differences in time zones, language fluency, navigating regulatory variations, understanding cultural norms, and bridging the gap between corporate and individual office policies. Read more >


The Integrated Advancement Organization – Getting Ready for the Next Phase of Change

The modern higher education “advancement organization” has been evolving since the 1970s as development, alumni relations and communications have become increasingly integrated, yet in widely varying structures with no clear “one size fits all.” The trend toward “engagement” over the past decade linked these “three legs of the advancement stool” more closely and operationally. Besides adapting lessons from business and customer relationship management, institutions have sought to engage alumni on a journey from loyalty to commitment to contribution to generate the sustained financial support increasingly vital to the health of colleges and universities. Read more >

Risk Assessment: An Emerging Imperative in Higher Education Strategic Plans

“Risk assessment and compliance” have typically governed strategic plans for businesses but, until recently, the concepts have not permeated strategic planning processes for colleges and universities. Broadened from the traditional association with internal audit finance and operations, enterprise risk management (ERM) offers a more precise lens for higher education executives and boards of trustees to analyze “strategic risk” as they develop long-term institutional visions and goals. Read more >

Advancing Institutional Strategy: Transforming Strategic Communications in Higher Ed

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University and college presidents and CEOs face an array of disruptive forces today as technologies, markets and customer expectations rapidly change. The institutions that are poised to thrive in uncertain times are shaking up administrative and educational models to be more relevant, differentiated and competitive. Declines in numbers of traditional students, growing numbers of prospective adult learners, competing priorities and stakeholder groups, globalization and growing dependence on private support are among the challenges of leading complex higher education institutions today. They demand enterprise-wide, market-responsive strategic solutions, reimagined academic and co-curricular programs and often organizational redesign of systems and structures. Read more >

Trends in Alumni Relations

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At a time of major change for alumni associations, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and there are numerous legacy issues related to traditional approaches practiced over decades. Yet in this context, alumni associations are rethinking and, in some cases, radically changing, their longstanding models for programs and services, organizational structures and relationships with their colleges and universities. Alumni needs, interests and approaches to their alma mater’s relevance to their lives are changing; at the same time, institutions are more strategically embracing the opportunities and benefits of alumni relations to engage their largest and most enduring constituency. Read more >