Presidents of colleges and universities often confront immense issues not easily resolved by line staff members.Over the years, the proportion of our work devoted to assisting the direct needs of presidents has greatly expanded.The accomplishments from this work (actually the presidents’ work) have risen accordingly.We think this may explain why nearly all of our work originates from word-of-mouth referrals.
At the request of the president, we conduct cabinet retreats and facilitate special meetings of cabinets devoted to the improvement of cabinet functioning.This usually leads to the design and implementation of new role definitions, clarification of responsibilities, development of revised procedures for meetings, or other follow-up activities.
This vital aspect of presidential responsibility can be significantly enhanced by clarifying board and administrative responsibilities, strengthening board functioning, and revitalizing board participation and involvement.New levels of effectiveness in leadership and decision making can be achieved through a review of board procedures, interviews with the president and key board members, and the facilitation of board retreats.
Organizational Restructuring Presidents, especially at the beginning of their appointments, expect to organize and re-organize the operational areas of their institutions.A competent, knowledgeable “outside” facilitator can enable the process to achieve the desired aims and acquire the support necessary to sustain an effective implementation.
Performance issues inevitably arise even among top administrators and require president solutions.A qualified external facilitator can provide an objective identification of the situation, provide an assessment and formulation of recommendations, and guide the determination of preferred courses of action.
The office of the president must be well organized to provide operational support for the president’s leadership, manage the flow of communications, and respond to the needs of the institution and its many constituents.The complexities of these operations can be managed through the development of implementation of policies and procedures, coupled with the proper distribution of responsibilities within the president’s office.
The role of confidante while rarely recognized is widely practiced.It is an important role which we find ourselves fulfilling.The aloneness of the chief executive is met by having someone as a listener who is neutral yet knowledgeable, serving as a sounding board before performance in the public arena.This aspect of our work frequently evolves as the companion to our contracted work, becoming as important as the main event.