Leadership Workshops

SAIL Staff provide customizable leadership training opportunities for colleges and universities

Our Philosophy

The overall philosophy of The SAIL Institute begins with recognition and appreciation of the leadership skills that all participants bring to our workshops and coaching programs.  Our approach is to build confidence and knowledge through teaching leadership concepts and offering practice of those concepts through case studies, reflection, discussion, and developing “take home” goals and objectives.


We work closely with colleges and universites to desgin workshops tailored to their particular needs.  Workshops can range from a couple of hours to a full day to multiple days. We have experience working with leaders at all levels of thee institution from department chairs to directors to vice presidents and presidents. A selection of workshop topics are provided below.

The SAIL Advantage

The SAIL Institute focuses specifically on the leadership development needs of academic organizations.  Our staff and fellows have decades of experiences in leading and and studying colleges and universities and these insights inform all of our campus workshops.
SAIL Institute Campus Leadership Workshops
Build Your Team Through the Power of Narrative Intelligence
This half-day workshop will focus on team building through the power of twelve archetypal stories that help explain the motivations that drive individuals and teams in any organization, including units of colleges and universities.  Narrative intelligence provides a fresh new lens for seeing and articulating what energizes people most about their work and why that motivation should matter to others at an institution.
Story typing’s foundational narrative framework has been proven to quickly and significantly deepen individual and team self-awareness and learning capacity, resulting in insights that can be easily shifted into actionable, sustainable results. The nature of those insights can be deep and profound—getting at what’s going on beneath the surface of actions and attitudes—and helping individuals and teams address a wide variety of dynamics that affect their resilience, creativity, productivity, effectiveness and impact on others.

Learning Outcomes Include:

  • Connections to the internal motivators that drive success as both individual team members and the team as a whole in service to a college or university;
  • Strategic approaches for engaging and leveraging each team member’s story type to work together most effectively and productively;
  • An energizing, inspiring, and empowering sense of team identity or brand, and a shared story that can bring it to life for campus and external stakeholders;
  • Greater team trust, accountability, and commitment to each other; and
  • Tools to develop greater team change readiness and productive means of managing conflicts, as well as stronger communications inside and outside the campus team.
Building a Collaborative Environment: shifting from isolated impact to collective impact
Higher education is built around silos (e.g., administrative, data, disciplines, and so forth).  Whether we are focused on student success or cutting-edge research, there is a tendency to organize around small projects or programs that have isolated impact.  This workshop helps participants and campuses move beyond isolated impact and support a collective impact approach that encourages and supports meaningful and purposeful collaboration. Rather than perpetuating the traditional structural and cultural forms of higher education as we have come to know them, leading colleges and universities are driving innovations and reconfiguring administrative structures in ways that meet the needs of students, communities, and economies in the twenty-first century.  This workshop walks participants through a five-step model of collaboration that is intended not just to bring people together, but to produce and sustain results.

Learning Outcomes Include:

  • Identifying projects and initiatives that are best approached through a collaborative framework.
  • Being able to breakdown silos on campus;
  • Understanding the 5-step model for creating a collaborative environment and producing collective impact;

Being able to develop a network of champions, translators and mediators for institutionalizing the collaborative framework.

Building a Smarter University: Leveraging Data Analytics
This workshop draws on the experience and research of noted experts in the area of higher education data analytics to provide higher education leaders with new information about the changing data landscape, tools for engaging in an organizational assessment around data, tips for how to use data to improve decision making and student success, and knowledge about navigating the emerging field of predictive analytics.

Learning Outcomes Include:

  • Gain a greater understanding of how higher education institutions use data – from high school records to learning management systems;
  • Interpret data to improve institutional decision making; and,
  • Use data as an academic improvement tool.

This leadership program will arm participants with strategies for:

  • Creating a culture that uses data ethically and effectively;
  • Improving student success;
  • Creating an inclusive environment; and,
  • Addressing the challenges facing higher education.
Discovering My Leadership Voice
This one-day workshop will focus on assembling a plan for your leadership future through hands-on, interactive, engaging, and entertaining platforms.  Participants will explore their own strengths and opportunities for growth in leadership.


Program Benefits

From actively participating in this session, you will be able to:

  • Further discover your voice as a leader;
  • Assemble a leadership plan for the future; and,
  • Become a more reflective practitioner and leader.



Engaging Self-Awareness
This workshop offers an experiential learning process to heighten self-awareness of one’s own leadership style. Visual imagery engages participants in creative conversations and dialogues while the Leadership Wheel provides a basis for self-discovery to further enhance personal leadership development and performance.

Learning Outcomes Include:

  • Demonstrate understanding and increased comfort with the inner thinking, emotional, and physical aspects of leadership.
  • Ability to operationalize self-awareness tools in the management and leadership of campus functions and in working with peers and teams.
  • Introduction to the SUNY 360 program to enhance self-awareness and learning through feedback. Coaching is available to support development of action plans to achieve personal and professional goals.
Executive Leadership Team Building
This workshop helps executives bring their most courageously authentic selves to leadership at their campus. One of the most pressing challenges in higher education today is the need to communicate effectively across cultural and disciplinary boundaries. Leaders are expected to lead productive change so they must engage a diverse body of stakeholders in a constructive process to shape a campus culture that rewards innovation and high performance. This workshop examines strategies for creating a shared vision of the future and a process for moving toward that future. It provides a tool-kit and practice exercises in conducting difficult conversations and elevating thinking and creativity. The outcome will be an improved understanding of how executives can lead and communicate more effectively in dealing with conflict, building consensus, and negotiating solutions. The focus is on building a leader’s own awareness of their strengths and how to leverage these in service to their campus and to themselves.


Learning Outcomes Include:


  • Describing processes to help executives define their overall philosophy, values, and approaches to campus leadership, and developing communication pathways with colleagues, teams, and other stakeholders that advance the campus mission.
  • Defining and practicing leadership skills that serve campus leaders in achieving their goals and objectives.
  • Working with new campus leaders to build confidence and competence and credibility through communication and negotiation skills
  • Developing thoughtful and operationally effective leadership transition and succession plans that serve the campus and the involved people
  • Introduction to the SUNY 360 program to enhance self-awareness and learning through feedback. Coaching is available to support development of action plans to achieve personal and professional goals.
Leading Academic Innovation
Colleges and universities are facing significant environmental constraints as demographics shift, traditional revenues streams diminish, accountability measures increase, and the mainstream media raises questions about the value of a college degree.  At the same time, there are a dizzying array of new academic innovations that are said to improve the quality of the education experience and provide new support for student success.  This workshop starts by confronting rumors and fears by providing participants with a baseline of data about the realities (e.g., enrollment patterns, demographics shifts, student expectations, and financial considerations) that colleges and universities face today.  Participants then learn about some evidence-based practices that are transforming the delivery of academic operations and invites participants to explore the current challenges on their campus.   The final part of the workshop guides participants through an implementation plan so that they leave the workshop with a guided pathway for exploring and implementing innovation within the academic environment.


Learning Outcomes Include:

  • Understanding the current environment in which their college is operation;
  • Having a better understanding of academic innovations being implemented by other campuses;
  • Learning how to engage others in constructing meaning around a new idea;
  • Developing an implementation plan for the new idea;
  • Being able to develop a network of champions, translators and mediators for institutionalizing the idea
Leading your Campus through Change & Conflict
This one-day workshop will focus on the leadership skills needed in higher education to reorganize people when needed, create positive working cultures using straight talk, lean into difficult conversations and provide feedback. This session will explore the impacts of social media for leaders in an academic culture, and prepare you to lead a multi-generational workforce amidst a tidal wave of change.


Program Benefits

From actively participating in this session, you will be able to:

  • Lead your campus team through inevitable change in the higher education landscape;
  • Confidently address conflicts with your team
  • Lead with an accountability mindset
  • Put these leadership skills into practice using a variety of real workplace situations;
  • Plan actions and next steps for implementing key ideas and skills.
Leading with Emotional Intelligence
Colleges and universities, more than ever, need leaders that possess high levels of emotional intelligence, the capacity to use reason and intelligence to accurately perceive, assess, and regulate emotion in managing one-self and others.  Research shows that great leaders are those individuals that are able to inspire others to act, help them find value in the work that they do, and work with them to co-create a vision for the future.  As higher education institutions face an increasing array of threats (e.g., shifting student demographics, altering revenue streams, and a rapidly changing workforce), participants will learn how they can use EI to more effectively achieve their personal and organizational goals

Learning Outcomes Include:

  • Examine concepts and approaches for understanding and using EI
  • Understanding your EI, including your strengths and weaknesses for leading others
  • Identify healthy and unhealthy adaptive mechanisms for dealing with conflict and crisis
  • Develop an action plan for improving your EI
Leading High-Performing Teams
This one-day workshop will explore what makes teams and higher education institutions influential and successful, and participants will gain the skills to lead their team toward excellence. What do successful organizations have in common? In what ways could your team have a greater range of influence on your campus community? This leadership development workshop will explore these questions and many others.


Program Benefits

From actively participating in this session, you will be able to:

  • Assemble a plan for the future;
  • Communicate the mission and vision and expand your influence;
  • Connect decision making to the strategic plan;
  • Identify systems thinking processes;
  • Set expectations and keep accountability at the forefront;
  • Become a more reflective practitioner and leader;
  • Connect ideas to action;
  • Inspire others in their leadership journey; and,
  • Further discover your voice as a leader.


Neuroscience of Higher Education Leadership
Recent findings in neuroscience and the field of leadership converge to offer spectacular insight and substantial evidence to how anxiety, emotions, and behavior influence performance and our ability to be emotionally nimble through times of stress. This hands-on, interactive workshop will explore how five frameworks (Organizational, Behavioral, Biological, Cultural, and Evolutionary) come together to shape our workplaces into spaces of creativity, or crisis.


Program Benefits

From actively participating in this session, you will be able to:

  • Integrate brain-based research into their leadership skill-set;
  • Examine their current organization and strategically implement interventions;
  • Explore behavioral changes to improve culture;
  • Identify the biological underpinnings which help to foster healthy workplaces of creativity;
  • Avoid sending messages of crisis which limit growth and potential of individuals; and.
  • Synthesize how recent findings in neuroleadership offer a platform for continued growth.


Strategic Planning
Strategic planning is a values-based, information-driven process in which a college reviews its mission in terms of the needs and expectations of its principal stakeholders, then determines what must be done to accomplish that mission. Those decisions are sensitive to changes occurring within the organization and its environment, and are directed toward making efficient use of resources. This workshop focuses on how to engage stakeholders in a participatory process for developing a strategic plan. Included are exercises for collecting and analyzing data, facilitating the group process, and articulating goals, strategies and action plans.  Participants will leave the program with a workbook of guidelines, exercises and tools for developing a strategic plan.

Learning Outcomes Include:

  • Defining the key elements and timelines for strategic plans for  colleges and universities
  • Listing 3-4 approaches to engage stakeholders in meaningful ways that draw the stakeholders to the process and help them develop commitment toward the implementation of a strategic plan.
  • Recognizing the most likely pitfalls in developing a strategic plan with approaches to mitigate risks
SUNY 360 Skills Inventory & Leadership Coaching
We know that positive and constructive feedback presented in a respectful and helpful format is one of the most important ways to improve the effectiveness of individuals and organizations.  Yet, lack of feedback and recognition are common reasons for why individuals leave organizations and why leaders have a difficult time creating and maintain the teams they need to be successful.

The SUNY360 Leadership Skills Inventory is specifically created to provide feedback to leaders in higher education settings.  Participants receive feedback, not just from their immediate supervisor; but from a circle of stakeholders who are invested in the success of the individual. A specially designed SUNY360 Team Report provides the team leader with insights into the overall strengths and developmental opportunities of the team. This report can help the leader better understand his or her team as well as target professional development resources more effectively.

When combined with other services such as executive coaching or the SUNY College Leaders Workshop, the SUNY360 can be the foundation of a transformative developmental experience for your college or university.

Click Here to go to the SUNY360 website

Cross Cultural Simuation

This highly engaging, interactive half-day workshop offers an opportunity to explore the impact culture has on our interactions with our campus colleagues.

Learning outcomes include:

* Build awareness of how cultural differences can profoundly impact people on our campuses.

* Motivate participants to rethink their behavior and attitude toward others.

* Allow participants to examine their own bias and focus on how they perceive differences.

* Examine how stereotypes are developed, barriers created, and misunderstandings magnified.

* Identify diversity issues within our campus teams that must be addressed.

After the simulation, a SAIL facilitator will lead a discussion about how to lead your campus in culture change initiatives.