Making Your First 120 Days as a President Count

December 12, 2017


You only get one chance at a first impression. Research has again and again shown that how you are perceived at the beginning sets a tone for years to come. The importance of getting off on the right foot is compounded when you are steering an entire organization. Hyatt-Fennell’s Marylouise Fennell and Scott Miller, president of Virginia Wesleyan University, were recently published in the July/August issue of College & Planning Management addressing the topic of a president’s first 120 days. One of their best pieces of advice is to schedule an institutional review: 

New presidents are besieged with requests and counsel from faculty, staff, donors, volunteer leadership and alumni; not all advice is valuable. James L. Fisher, president-emeritus of Maryland’s Towson University and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and a noted author on board/presidential leadership, urges boards to commission an institutional review as a first step toward establishing a solid foundation. “Presidents, particularly newly appointed presidents, find that institutional reviews can help them start their presidencies on a solid footing,” Fisher says of this evaluation process. “They have found them useful in finding out ‘how things really are’ and in making plans. A review pays special attention to strategic positioning.”

Read the rest of their insights here.

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