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How to streamline leadership searches during Spring?

Finding new leadership is time-consuming and labor intensive, not only for the organization but for the prospective talent as well.  Spring is a really busy (and competitive) time, especially for school districts looking to secure their next Superintendent, with most searches approaching the finish line.

As final selection decisions are being made, both parties can take steps to set up leadership for success and to hit the ground running.

Leverage the Information Gathered During The Search Process
Most searches involve some level of stakeholder input and feedback. This data can be very helpful to the incoming leader, enabling them to quickly learn more about the needs and priorities of the community, students, staff and Board.  During the search process, the Board gathered information about the incoming leader through the interview process, likely identifying strengths and areas of opportunity.  Empowering the new leader to capitalize on their strengths while providing the necessary support can enable quick wins.

Be Transparent About the Challenges & What Is Needed
Nothing will end the “honeymoon” phase of a new leader faster than finding out there’s a massive issue like a pending fiscal cliff or a problem with the recent assessment data. Being open about what the leader will be inheriting will allow them the runway to do their research, dive into the data, and develop a plan with minimal surprises.  Provide the new leader with the space and the resources to do what is needed to turn things around.

Stay Laser Focused
As Andrew Carnegie once said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments towards organizational objectives. It is that fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” The to-do list will be long, the requests numerous, and many stakeholders will want their needs prioritized.  The organization and the new leader will need to work together to set clearly defined goals (based on the data) and support each other in staying laser focused on taking the necessary steps toward achieving those goals.