Opening Doors, The Higher-Ed Leadership Playbook
Nancy Martin and Josefina C. Baltodano, J.D.

“Founded on the principles of inclusive excellence and social justice, OPENING DOORS is a ground-breaking book resting on the principle that leaders are made, not born. It provides strategies and tactics on how to move ahead in your leadership journey in higher education— most importantly, doing so in a principled, inclusive way throughout your career. Martin and Baltodano unravel the mysteries of the search process as well as the cultural anthropology of leadership transition. This is the sort of book that you buy and return to again and again, over a lifetime of service in leadership positions. Nancy Martin and Josefina Baltodano have the perfect background to enable them, indeed to compel them, to write this book. Between them they have decades of success in recruiting top talent in higher education, coupled with many additional accomplishments in coaching people as they grow in their current jobs. Their combined experience is foundational and has shaped the book in remarkably intelligent and creative ways. “ (Excerpts from the Opening Doors Forward, written by Dr. Charles R. Middleton, Professor and President Emeritus, Roosevelt University) “Higher Education has long needed a book like Opening Doors, The Higher-Ed Leadership Playbook. Martin and Baltodano have shared their many years of expertise with us. It is wonderful to finally have a single volume that is important for those going forward in searches, and those who are conducting the searches. I know that many will use this book to enhance their experience in higher education.” —Dr. P. Bartelt

ISBN;
978-0-9720457-1-1
2021

“Opening Doors is an incredibly helpful toolkit, offering guiding principles for future leaders who understand their role will not only be a matter of visionary, ethical, and transparent leadership but will also necessarily involve hard, principled choices, a careful balance of warmth and courage, and the ability to inspire trust. Leaders increasingly need to understand all of what an institution does and how to build bridges and lead collaboratively in a fast-changing environment.

The most helpful part of the book is the Playbook. How do you actually navigate from a position inside or outside of higher education to a complex, complicated role involving the trust of thousands of stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, parents, donors, trustees, advisory boards, governments, and community members? How to you sell yourself and show you have the goods? How do you demonstrate that you understand the particular human challenge of higher ed in the era of social media?

The Leadership Playbook part of the book is an actual playbook with checklists, models, scripts, and examples of success. Opening it up is the first step in the journey to see if you are ready.”

– Hollis Robbins


Accolades for Opening Doors, The Higher-Ed Leadership Playbook!

“Full Disclosure: Nancy Martin and I have worked as colleagues in higher education executive search and leadership development since the early 1990’s, so you could reasonably expect some bias on my part. Nonetheless, I believe OPENING DOORS is extraordinary from a variety of vantage points:

• It effectively addresses longstanding, intractable issues that have set unfair and unconscionable limits on who is seen as having the gravitas for leadership in the Academy;
• It is rooted in a philosophy of interaction – Appreciative Inquiry – that is a powerful vehicle for effective communication and mutual understanding;
• Its co-authors avoid focusing on themselves, in favor of highlighting what they have learned that can advance the field of higher education leadership;
• It is unusually generous in offering – not just ideas about effective practices – but actual practical tips, model documents and working templates designed to support the prospective leader from early stages of value clarification all the way through salary negotiations and into the transition to the new position.

Few consultants and authors would have the courage to “give so much away.”

Wouldn’t it be compelling to be in conversation about your potential with these people and their colleagues, with OPEN DOORS at your side? Imagine how far you could go. Imagine how you and others will transform higher education.”

– Lorna Duphiney Edmundson, Ed. President Emerita, Wilson College Senior Principal, Archer Martin Associates.


Step-by-step help for HiEd folks looking to “open that door” to something new

“I have worked in higher education, both public and private, for more than twenty years as professor, associate dean, dean, and more. As I look to take my career to the next level, my ACE Mentor (a past-president of a public university) recommended this book. Whether you are just thinking about making a change in role, actively looking (like me), or wanting to think through how you might think about your hiring practices for that next academic role, this book goes beyond words to offer actionable steps in the form of “worksheet-like” prompts. This is a book that you will mark up and revisit. I imagine my copy will have black ink, later blue, then who knows what as I revisit it. Recommended in the highest degree.”

-Robert Matthew Klein


“If you are a mid-career higher ed professional or if you are seeking your capstone career opportunity, Opening Doors,The Higher-Ed Leadership Playbook is a must-read! My colleagues Nancy Martin and Josie Baltodano offer a comprehensive, insightful, and practical playbook, systematically outlining the steps in the job search process. From understanding what you are personally and professionally seeking in your next job opportunity, to developing effective CVs and cover letters that will take you to the next step in the search process, to offering interview tips that will let you shine through – this book has it all! And on top of that, it’s user-friendly, allowing the reader to easily focus on the issues that are most relevant. Opening Doors is one of those gems of a book—even after you finish it, you will find yourself going back to it, from time-to-time, just to revisit some of the great suggestions. Well done!”

– Jeffrey J. Papa. Ph.D.

PART I – The Strategic Leadership Playbook

Chapter 1: Fundamental Guiding Principles

At the end of her campus interview, a finalist in a Dean of Arts and Sciences search at an R-I university was compelled to knock on the Provost’s door. She asked, “may I come in and close the door?” She went on to say that she could not accept the Provost’s offer without the clear understanding of the support, human and financial, necessary to make a successful turnaround. (She said to herself: “Always be the person in control, centered, and the servant-leader.”)

Chapter 2: Finding the Fit

When a candidate decided to explore a particular presidency, he discovered obvious misalignment with his own values. It was easy for him to close the door on that opportunity, as in reality, it was no opportunity at all.

Chapter 3: Equity, Inclusion, and Transformation

“If we achieve a richer culture rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.”
—Margaret Mead

Chapter 4: Taking Inventory

A recent decanal candidate discovered the secret of transferable skills by finding her narrative voice to articulate her strengths and intangible leadership qualities. Then she realized she didn’t need every item on the (HEELI) checklist to open up leadership doors.

Chapter 5: Emotional and Social Intelligence (EI & SI)

As you continuously build upon your emotional and social intelligence capabilities, the door opens with amazing alacrity.

Chapter 6: Your Tool Kit

A. Curriculum Vitae (CV)
B. Cover Letters
C. References
D. Distinguishing Yourself in the Electronic Age

Chapter 7: Search Firms

Many years ago, the leading candidate in a university presidential search called and said it was essential that we meet to discuss an important issue. Parenthetically, we thought he wanted to tell us that he was gay, which we already knew, and which was a non-issue. His reason, however, was to tell me that an old lawsuit had become suddenly active during the middle of the presidential search process. We informed the chair of the search committee, who spoke directly with the candidate’s lawyer. The chair was convinced it was a frivolous suit. The candidate completed the search process, got the job, and was a successful president until his retirement, many years later. (Moral of this story: A good search consultant is invaluable.)

Chapter 8: Interviews

A smart, savvy candidate for a deanship has a proven secret for a successful Zoom interview. The night before her interviews, she checks into a hotel that has first-class Internet and fabulous food. She sequesters herself behind closed doors and has a mini-spa vacation away from the stress and distraction of work, family matters, pets, etc., so that she is rested, centered, prepared, and “Zoom-presentable” when the interview time rolls around. Brilliant!

Chapter 9: Closing the Deal: The Key to Success

The following are actual requests on candidate relocation checklists:
“Will you pay to move my wine cellar?
“Will you pay to move my Carnegie Hall concert grand Steinway?”
“How about moving my spouse’s antique car collection?”

Chapter 10: Transition Planning

We know a college president who took her position, fully recognizing that she would have to address serious deficits in the quality of some of her leadership team—she would definitely have to show them the door in order to open the door to a new era for the institution. She hired a coach to serve as her leadership transition counsel, working with her Chief Human Resources Officer to conduct some outside searches and work through a few internal re-assignments to build a high-performing leadership team.

Part II The Tactical Leadership Playbook

The Tactical Playbook is designed to help you develop your leadership capacity,
fitness, and savvy.

Chapter 1: Fundamental Guiding Principles

It is optimal to center yourself on these Fundamental Guiding Principles (See The Strategic Playbook, Chapter 1, p. 1) and to continually remind yourself of these principles as you undertake your tactical leadership fitness regimen.

Chapter 2: Finding the Fit

Cinderella’s stepsisters paid a life-altering price trying to make the glass slipper fit. It takes courage to walk away and say, “No.” Don’t make the same mistakes that Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters made.

Chapter 3: Equity, Inclusion, and Transformation

“In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”
— Maya Angelou

Chapter 4: Taking Inventory

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”
— Zig Ciglar, American motivational speaker,
1926-2012

Chapter 5: Emotional and Social Intelligence (EI & SI)

“In a high-IQ pool, soft skills like discipline, drive, and empathy mark those who emarge as outstanding.”
— Daniel Goleman

Chapter 6: Your Tool Kit

A. Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Template and Examples
B. Cover Letter
Opening and Closing Paragraphs from Examples of Well-written Cover Letters
C. References
You should notify your references when the referencing process begins. Don’t let your references be blindsided.

Chapter 7: Search Firms

“In recruiting there are no good or bad experiences—just learning experiences.”
— Author Unknown

Chapter 8: Interviews

This is the time to sharpen your narrative and always be in control—continuously leading with Appreciative Inquiry.

Chapter 9: Closing the Deal: The Key to Success

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
— Anonymous

Chapter 10: Transition Planning

A good search person will tell you that a search is comprised of three parts: pre-search, the search itself, and post-search. We believe planning and executing an intentional transition leads to long-term success in whatever role you select. We believe these “Top Ten Tips” and the three examples following them are useful for any administrator to use as prospective templates. The transition is not just for presidents; it is for everyone.

Epilogue:

The Epilogue is the New Prologue