Our College President is Retiring!
8/28/2017 12:20 PM
So, it just became public that your long-standing president of 12-15 years is retiring. Clearly there will be a search, more likely than not, a national one. What do you look for? Is it an extension of the former president? Is it a change agent?
Personal experience plus some statistical research indicates that following a long-standing president can be fraught with some problems. Foremost, after 12-15 years, organizations can be comfortable with the status quo or homeostasis. This is particularly apparent when the president with longevity remains in the local community, or even a tangential part of the organization.
Sometimes it occurs due to shadow leadership. As Annabel Beerel indicates in her book, Leadership and Change Management “it begins with a false sense of reality – both personal reality and reality leaders perceive regarding their own position and that of the organization. Once this prevails, especially in disjunction between what is real and what is perceived, leader’s motivation and activities the (new leader) engages in are on the skids”.
Governance boards must come to grips with this phenomenon. Unrealistic expectations of a new leader can become causative agents to the leader’s ultimate demise. Fortunately, choosing a reputable search firm can be a first line of defense.
Dr. Marsi Liddell is a former CEO of two Community Colleges and is currently affiliated with the Pauly Group.