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Human Resources
Jun 15, 2014

Choosing The Next Chancellor At UNCW

Sponsored Content provided by Dave Hoff - Chief Operating Officer and Executive VP of Leadership Development, EASI Consult

One could spend a lot of time doing a post-mortem on why Gary Miller decided to pursue other opportunities and ultimately left UNCW. At the end of the day, it is more important to figure out what will be needed to get the best possible candidate available, installed and ready to take UNCW to whatever is the next level of success.

My firm, EASI·Consult®, does many individual assessments for selection, including for some very senior positions. With each assessment, we start with interviews of the key stakeholders to understand what they see as the challenges of the role. It sounds simple but you wouldn’t believe how many senior selections fail to do this step. When you do four to six stakeholder interviews, you find out that they don’t all agree on what the challenges of the role are or the relative importance of those challenges. This gives us the context of what will become the job requirements used in the selection process. 

But before you interview stakeholders, you must decide who they are – and who should have a voice in the decision in hiring the next chancellor. On the surface it would seem like the stakeholders would be students, faculty, administrators, alumni and the board of trustees. Do you also get input from the larger Wilmington community? There was an open letter floating around recently signed by a bunch of community folks expressing their support of Chancellor Miller. So should community representatives have a say? 

After you figure out who should be involved, you can determine what the selection process will be and when it can start. The next step is determining the capabilities or competencies to use in evaluating each of the candidates.

When EASI Consult evaluates candidates for a position we look at both behavioral and technical competencies. In the case of the chancellor position, you are really talking about the candidate’s scholarly or academic accomplishments. You want the person leading an academic institution to exemplify what scholarship looks like. The best people in a position to evaluate that are other academics. Other stakeholders could have a voice in this area, but are really out of their element.

The final area needing to be evaluated are the behavioral competencies required for the job. Many times people get hired to fill positions because of their technical capabilities. Many of those same people get fired from those positions because of their lack of behavioral competencies. 

The set of behavioral competencies that EASI Consult uses are organized around four factors:

  • Cognitive/Thinking
  • Interpersonal
  • Motivational
  • Adaptable/Emotional
EASI Consult has a total of 24 competencies in our library, and I have narrowed that list down to 12 that I think are essential in the next chancellor at UNCW. I’ve divided each skill into the four categories listed above:

Cognitive/Thinking Skills: 1) Problem Solving; 2) Business Acumen; 3) Communicating Information. 

Interpersonal Skills: 4) Building Relationships; 5) Valuing Diversity; 6) Effective Listening. 

Motivation: 7) Embracing Change; 8) Leadership Quality; 9) Motivating Others. 

Adaptive/Emotional: 10) Adaptable; 11) Manage Conflict; 12) Professionalism. 

The candidates who demonstrate competence in those 12 areas should make it to the final round.

The top four abilities I would be looking for in the next chancellor at UNCW are:
  • The ability to build relationships among all the various stakeholder groups at the university and in the community.
  • Adeptness at managing change. The one thing that is certain is that change will keep coming and may very well increase in intensity. The Chancellor must embrace change and help the various stakeholders understand it and navigate it. 
  • Ability to communicate information. You can’t build relationships if you can’t communicate. You can’t make a case for change if you can’t communicate. 
  • Ability to manage conflict. Everyone is not going to see things the same way. He or she must understand that different points of view are inevitable and know how to find common ground and find solutions that everyone can live with.
If we can find the best person out there that possesses the 12 competencies I described and is particularly adept at the final four, the Seahawks will soar once more.
 
EASI·Consult® works with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and mid-sized corporations to provide customized Talent Management solutions. EASI Consult’s specialties include individual assessment, online employment testing, survey research, competency modeling, leadership development, executive coaching, 360-degree feedback, online structured interviews, and EEO hiring compliance. The company is a leader in the field of providing accurate information about people through professional assessment. To learn more about EASI Consult, visit www.easiconsult.com, email [email protected] or call 800.922.EASI.

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