Monday, March 3, 2014

Sharing an interesting perspective March 3 2014

Having been in similar situations in my career, I found the article I am about to share very interesting because it crosses all levels of education and all industries. Being in a leadership position is truly an open-ended interview, and since your main job is to manage personalities, it makes it that much more fun!

“For College Presidents, the Interview Never Ends”

“When you do research on candidates running for public office, you seek to learn their positions and promises. And later, when you’re deciding whether they should keep their jobs, you compare what they have done against that election-year rhetoric.

The same holds true in other leadership posts, including the one I hold: community-college president. To ensure that an institution is making progress toward its goals, candidates for positions like this must do more than interview well at the outset; they must engage in what I call the "everlasting interview" and be forever accountable to the college’s students, faculty members, administration, and community.”

“For me, the desire to become a president was neither preordained nor obvious. In the beginning, I engaged in serious self-reflection. I asked myself, "Why would I apply for the position?," and realized that I wanted to leave an imprint on an institution in a way only senior leadership would allow. I had 40-plus years of experience, and in 2011 I was as ready for the opportunity as I could have been.”

“During the marathonlike interview process, members of every constituency from every corner of the college get out their microscopes and, like medical doctors, begin poking and prodding. Screening committees, faculty and staff members, students, community members, and public forums are all part of the lengthy and deliberate process. Not for the faint of heart, it is meant to be thorough, helping the hiring committee find the best "fit" for the institution.”

“What kept me going was the confidence that I was the one the institution needed, and when I received the phone call offering me the position, I felt like I had won Olympic gold, with all the cheers and adrenaline rush.”

“What is not often said, however, is that being the successful candidate does not mean the interview is over. Far from it. The continuing interview is the everyday measure of the congruence between what the candidate said and what the president does.”

“The minute I arrived on campus, I was tested: favors of every kind requested; private emails suggesting the most successful leadership style; public scrutiny of my decisions both large and small; and frequent "to do" lists offered. These tests came in the form of requests for purchases that had been heretofore denied; the need for travel to places around the world; luncheon invitations (for the discussion of private matters); and complaints about office locations. The savvy president will know that while many of the requests are not necessarily strategic to the college’s agenda, they are clearly part of the protracted testing process. And this testing is particularly extensive when a president is bold, sees herself as a change agent, incorporates accountability standards, and insists on moving the college forward.”

Whether you are K12 or HigherEd: What are your experiences? How do you approach new leadership positions? What advice would you give someone?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

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