Developing leadership capabilities to build ownership and alignment

Kellogg School of Management: Developing leadership capabilities to build ownership and alignment


Kellogg, one of the world’s premier schools of management, has long been an educational pioneer. Facing increased competition for top students, faculty and staff, the new dean launched Envision Kellogg, an ambitious rethinking of the role, responsibility and potential of MBA education. To bring the plan to life inside the organization, Kellogg sought to analyze its communication effectiveness and build the administration’s leadership as evangelists of the school’s direction.

Kellogg’s ultimate goal was to ensure that the entire organization owned—and was aligned to realize —the new vision. The challenge was to help leaders tap into Kellogg’s deep culture of collaboration and grassroots innovation while helping leaders navigate the uncertainty that comes with strategic change.


  • Interviewed key senior leaders to understand the school’s strategic priorities and map the “ideal state” necessary for the administration to engage employees and share Kellogg’s vision more broadly and consistently.
  • Examined existing communications structures, vehicles and messaging to identify opportunities to improve information flow across functional silos.
  • Facilitated a customized planning workshop designed to assess the communications environment, analyze and test perceptions of employee engagement, and determine the most effective and feasible opportunities to connect administrators with Kellogg’s emerging strategy.
  • Developed a communication and engagement planning framework with research and output from the planning workshop that identified eight distinct communication opportunities and recommended four focus areas on which to build alignment and ownership of Kellogg’s strategy.


  • Kellogg’s planning framework has empowered committees and their leaders to develop specific action steps within all four focus areas.
  • Kellogg is building administrator confidence in positive change  by pursuing a series of “quick win” tactics driven by the planning framework.
  • Kellogg’s core values have been reintroduced and reinforced through the dean’s communications, collateral materials and other vehicles.
  • “Pulse” engagement surveys have already shown improvement in administrator understanding of Envision Kellogg.
  • Kellogg recently launched a Leadership Training program—facilitated by Gagen—to identify information flow opportunities, benchmark communication effectiveness and build core communication skills.

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