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Finding a Fit with Presidents and Cabinets

Finding a Fit with Presidents and Cabinets

This question is taken from AGB Search's monthly newsletter, "Securing Leadership," which features two questions—one frequently asked by search committee members and another often posed by candidates. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

A cabinet-level candidate asks: When in the search process will I have an opportunity to learn more about how the president interacts with the vice presidents and how the cabinet functions as a team?

While the search profile will address these issues and a conversation with the search consultant can provide additional insights, your first real opportunity to explore questions about the leadership culture on campus will be with the search committee at the neutral site interview. 

Often a search committee includes a member of the cabinet and board members with close working connections to the president and senior leadership team.  Search committees encourage candidates to pose questions and explore fit and leadership style. In some searches, the president will meet with the semi-finalist candidates at the semi-finalist interview. These one-on-one conversations with the campus leader provide an invaluable opportunity to assess chemistry, communication, and fit.

If you are one of the finalists selected by the committee, you will have additional opportunities to meet with the president, members of the cabinet, board members, faculty, and staff leaders, as well as other campus constituencies. Consequently, it is imperative that all candidates think about what attributes of their prior professional environments and interactions have been most critical to their growth and effectiveness as leaders.  “Fit” is a two-way street and due diligence by candidates is as important as the evaluation of the campus to ensure a good match.

An institution's cabinet and administration is one aspect of shared governance. Read AGB's recent report, Shared Governance: Is OK Good Enough? for more information on shared governance today.
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