It is alarmingly easy to choose the wrong leader. A college in need of a new leader can hire a well-regarded professional who was overwhelmingly successful in his last position and still make a catastrophic choice. The needs of each organization are unique. Not only are the requirements of each institution different, colleges will need distinct leaders at various times throughout their history. That is why our search process at Hyatt-Fennel begins with cultural immersion. Our team always starts with a research visit. We go on location and spend time leading in-depth sessions with clients and stakeholders. We listen. We learn. We question.

When you are in need of a new leader, you are not just looking for a good president or dean or provost. You are seeking the right provost for your school at this moment. There are three key aspects that must align for a healthy cultural fit.

1. History. Each institution stewards its own legacy that informs and energizes its mission. As the glut of superhero movies has taught us, origin stories matter. Your history holds strengths to accentuate and hazards to be aware of. A good leader will understand and build on the history of a college.

2. Values. Your institution’s priorities and principles ground and guide your identity. They are the centerpiece of cultural fit. It is essential that your new leader share your values. A cross-industry leader will be a better fit for your college than a higher education leader with different values.

3. Vision. Hiring a new leader is a pivotal time when your organization can—and should—capitalize on new opportunities. A leader must understand the mission of your institution and be able to articulate your vision in a way that mobilizes your community.

If your organization has a leadership search on the horizon, contact us to learn more about the importance of cultural fit.