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Executive On-Boarding

for Senior Administration

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While most institutions work diligently during the recruitment and selection process to get the best talent, too often they assume these highly qualified and accomplished individuals require little support to be successful. As a result, new senior administrative hires are left to assimilate on the fly and manage an already packed calendar of appointments, with little time to explore what is different about the new role and institution.

When institutions neglect onboarding, the consequences can seriously affect the new senior administrator’s success, including erosion of leadership confidence. The institution suffers as well. Time-consuming relationship repairs are required, not to mention the additional expenses and searches if the individual leaves. The introduction of interim leaders also causes department disruptions, as shell shocked team members attempt to keep projects moving forward. In addition, the reputation of the institution can suffer, which can have lasting effects. Prospective candidates may hesitate to apply for a leadership role on a campus that does not effectively support new leaders, or worse, when candidates view the campus as a toxic environment.

Ideally, the president, CEO or chancellor will be actively engaged in developing an on-boarding process. Dr. Kaufman facilitates a working session with the leader and his or her senior leadership team to develop the components of an effective on-boarding process for newly appointed senior executives. 

Key Features of The On-Boarding Process Include:

  • Gaining an understanding of governance and shared governance at the institution.

  • Understanding institutional culture and sub-cultures.

  • Building a strategic network internally and externally.

  • Understanding the institutional-level role of a cabinet member.

  • Determining key committee assignments.

  • Developing an external role and presence.

  • Managing up effectively.

  • Peer mentoring.

  • A six-month self-assessment.

What Clients Are Saying....  


"It has been a distinct pleasure working with you, learning from you, feeling your support and trust.  And more importantly, it has shaped the kind of partner and provost I mean to be in this position, and how I believe I am perceived.  I am forever in your debt and somehow I don't mind..."  (System Provost)

Article Link:

Executive Onboarding: The Unwritten Rules of Success (November, 2012, University Business)

To learn more about this service, please email Dr. Kaufman at or call her at 760.324.3271 

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