Archive for the ‘negotiation’ Category

Navy-LogoThere’s nothing like humor when it comes to university presidents.   One humorous story comes from the U.S. Naval Academy where the equivalent of the college president is the Superintendent who is is always an admiral in the Navy.  John Feinstein, sports columnist for the Washington Post, recounted a great story.

This story is set in 2002 when Vice Admiral John R. Ryan served as the academy’s superintendent.  It seems at the time that the Navy football team had not won a single football game the previous season and was looking for a new football coach.

An up and coming coach, Paul Johnson, interviewed for the head football at Navy.    Johnson, known for his innovative and highly effective triple option flexbone offense, was never short on self-confidence.  During Johnson’s interview for the head football coach position, negotiations between Johnson and Admiral Ryan had begun to stall.

“What it’s going to take, Coach?” Ryan asked when negotiations stalled. “What do I have to pay you to get you to coach my football team.”

Johnson gave Ryan a number and the Admiral was stunned.

“Young man,” he said. “I’m a three-star admiral in the United States Navy and I don’t make anywhere close to that kind of money.”

Johnson replied:

“Well, Admiral, I guess you got into the wrong business.”

Admiral Ryan paid Johnson the money, and Johnson went on to become one of Navy’s greatest football coaches.

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe


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Cover-Bradt_3E_Rev51-200x300On February 15, 2012, I posted ‘Academic Dean – Job Interview Questions’ on the Academic Anchor.   In that posting, I credited the consulting firm Primegenesis with the ‘only three interview questions‘.     Well, it turns out that three leaders from Primegenesis have written a book entitled The New Leader’s 100 Day Action Plan.    In this book, the authors (George B. Bradt, Jayme A. Check, and Jorge E. Pedraza)  expand on their thoughts.

Again, according to Bradt, Check and Pedraza there are only three interview questions:

  1. Can you do the job? (strengths)
  2. Will you love the job? (motivation)
  3. Can I tolerate working with you? (fit)

The authors go on to say that there are only three fundamental interview answers:

  1. My strengths are a match for this job.
  2. My motivations are a match for this job.
  3. I am a good fit for this organization.

A quote from Bradt, Check and Pedraza caught my eye.

Interviews are exercises in solution selling.   They are not about you, they are about them – their needs, their problems.  You are the solution.   Think of the interview process as a chance for you to show your ability to see, hear and solve the organization’s and the interviewer’s problem.

Good thoughts indeed!

Finally, Bradt, Check and Pedraza developed a list of “Questions You Should Ask Yourself’ when preparing for the job interview.

  • Have I thought through multiple examples of how I can answer the three key questions?
  • Have I done enough research to understand what’s most important to the people I’m talking to?
  • Is this the right job for me in terms of strength, motivation and fit?
  • What would a videotape of my interview say about me?

I highly recommend the book ‘The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan: How to Charge, Build Your Team, and Get Immediate Results’.    While the book was not written for academia, nearly all of the material directly pertains to seeking an administrative position in higher education.    If you would like to become an academic dean, this is a must read.

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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