Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Would 'Onboarding' Work for Schools?

There is often a tendency to compare the private sector world with that of public schools, and the comparison is not always fair or accurate. Or feasible. But this article from Business Week suggests a new trend in leadership development could be an exception to that rule.

In the article, executive leadership coaches Marshall Goldsmith and Sue Schaefer discuss the new corporate trend of "onboarding" - helping new executives and their companies prepare for a leadership change. The parallels between prepping a new exec and a new principal are uncanny. Consider this exchange about corporate leaders in the context of bringing on a new administrator:

The old model just doesn't work often enough! Business cannot afford the existing failure rates that result from misaligned expectations. Harvard's Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days, has revealed that a staggering 58% of new executives—those hired from the outside—don't succeed in their new position within 18 months. The cost per failure is more than a million dollars.

Companies spend an enormous amount of money recruiting people. While we hear about recruiting costs and the costs of failed executives, we often don't factor in the indirect costs of hiring an executive who becomes toxic to the environment. It can take months—or even years—to rebuild an organization after a particularly negative experience. The higher up the executive, the more costly the "reconstruction" costs. Very high-level negative experiences can definitely damage the company's reputation and stock value.

Again, forget stock value for the moment. Consider instead the implications for a school and district as a result of a leadership change - on the students, staff and community. And the research on successful schools only reinforces the importance of strong principals.

AWSP is working on a new project that might help with the "onboarding" process in schools by developing leadership coaches for members at every step of their career. In fact, the association trained more than 20 skilled, veteran principals to serve as coaches. We hope to have more to share on this project with the start of the new school year.

What do you think? Would "onboarding" work in schools? Does your district already do this?

1 comment:

George said...

Informative post. I was searching for some information on onboarding and came to this blog. I am also engaged with the onboarding activities of my company and i needed some stuff related to the same...