New Leader Entry Plan

Last week as a gift for our Chicago SUPES Academy cohort, for being an amazing class, we gave them Dr. Michael Hinojosa, school superintendent of Cobb County GA schools.  Dr. Hinojosa was previously school superintendent of Dallas ISD in TX.
Crafting and executing on a new leader entry plan is not a new idea.  Many school superintendent preparation programs advocate for some sort of entry plan.  This includes Harvard, The Broad Foundation’s Academy, SUPES Academy, and others.  Our Firm, Atlantic Research Partners provides technical assistance to many newly assigned leaders, and we have participated in some superb new leaders during their own on-boarding.
Dr Hinojosa uses 5 key (and probing questions) as he learns and listens to new employees and constituents.  Here they are:
1.  What do you expect from me, your new superintendent?
2.  What would you focus on first (if you were me)?
3.  What do we do to make this the best school district in America?
4.  Who are the people you respect in the school district the most?
5.  Who are the external stakeholders who can help us the most?
With a little imagination, you can see how these questions could open the “floodgates” of input, perceptions, and viewpoints.
Dr. Hinojosa’s repertoire is mighty.  This is instructive for not only new school superintendents, but also for leaders of any new group.

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