Institutions of higher education, and their leadership, are confronted with a “new reality” characterized by the influence of powerful external forces and stressful internal change. Planners, and the planning and management systems that they help design and service, can be instrumental in supporting university presidents as they execute their leadership agendas. Planners can enhance their effectiveness, and planning itself, by developing a deeper understanding of their institutions as complex organizations in general, and as political systems in particular. Also, by understanding planning as a political process and the role of the president as a political leader, planners can enhance their contributions to the institutions they serve.
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