Category Archives: Leadership

Making the Most of Leadership Transition

I’ve overseen three university presidential transitions, and now in our consulting roles Julie and I have advised several in-house teams as they plan for a new president or chancellor.

It’s an important time in the life of an institution, and strategic communications planning is critical – both to ensure a smooth transition and to create a solid foundation for a new leader’s future direction. The most effective communications efforts happen with careful pre-planning and coordination among several college units. When this works well, everyone comes together to craft strategies that celebrate the legacy of where the institution has been, and excitement about the next chapter.

After facilitating quite a few in-house planning sessions with colleagues and clients, I offer some guideposts for making the most of leadership transition:

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Saddle Up: 7 Trends Coming in 2018

In what is becoming an annual exercise, Lisa and I reviewed the past year of trends collected in The Scan to forecast what might be coming in 2018. Our resulting essay appears in Inside Higher Ed today. While the developments affecting higher education are sobering, we also offer practical advice for action steps college and university leaders can take to get ahead of the curve. We welcome your thoughts and additions to our list.

Penn State’s Approach to Scandal Recovery

A couple of news announcements about Penn State caught my eye this week. Both are attempts to get past significant scandals by taking policy or programmatic action.

As I wrote in an earlier blog post on recovering from a PR crisis, there is a basic formula used by most people and groups who successfully move past a major scandal. It includes:

  1. Admit the mistake or wrongdoing
  2. Apologize without excuses
  3. Explain why it happened, or what you will do to find out
  4. Take steps to fix the damage and prevent a similar occurrence in the future

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Guideposts for New Presidents

In our long-time roles as senior communications counsel to university presidents, we know first-hand that the presidency is among the most complex and challenging jobs in the country.

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A Hard Landing, and Lessons in Leadership

On March 8, the University of Michigan men’s basketball team along with the cheerleaders and pep band members were all on their way to the Big Ten tournament when the unthinkable happened. Their chartered plane, just clearing the ground during takeoff, was caught in high winds. It came down hard and skidded off the runway.

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