Littleford & Associates conducts searches for heads and interim heads of independent schools and non profit organizations. The Firm’s niche in this market is a customized approach to this politically sensitive process including: in depth knowledge of institutional cultures; insights into the unique challenges and opportunities which leadership transitions represent; one of the largest and most accurate databases in the world on nonprofit CEO and head of school compensation packages which allows for benchmarking within safe harbors limits (for US based schools); and the network of Littleford & Associates’ Newsletter that 5000 schools and not-for profits receive four to five times annually.
Through our consulting work on a variety of topics, our Firm maintains contact with heads and executives of hundreds of schools and nonprofits in a worldwide network. Our consulting practice also allows us to establish relationships with senior managers below the level of the Head and CEO. We learn about emerging leaders’ skills, personal and professional aspirations and potential fit with organizations seeking a change in leadership.
We are not a placement firm. All searches are personalized to help the school or organization define clearly its needs and identify the best individual who fits with its culture and will help to achieve its goals. Mr. Littleford is the sole Partner assigned to each search. Our Firm intentionally takes on only three to five searches per year in order to give each client the attention and ongoing contact that it deserves and needs.
In addition we maintain a list of experienced heads qualified and willing to serve as Interim Heads of School. The Firm advises a school on the candidate screening, interview and selection processes so as to make the entire search effective, sensitive and constructive. Our counsel includes the following key elements:
- Exploring the marketplace for heads/executive directors, both experienced and new and establishing the regional and national “net”
- Forming the search committee and possibly advisory committee(s)
- Developing an appropriate and enticing profile for the head of school or CEO position by using an inclusive focus group approach with client constituent groups
- Controlling search costs and using advertising dollars wisely
- Communicating the search to the larger community
- Emphasizing the importance of healthy board governance in supporting the critical search process
- Ensuring that a new head/Executive Director (and his family) make an effective, healthy and safe transition
- Recognizing when an interim head appointment and process may be important or even vital to the health of a school
- Understanding the risks as well as the opportunity of including an internal candidate in the pool
- Exercising the important fiduciary responsibility of checking references while respecting confidentiality particularly for “sitting” heads
- Benchmarking the compensation package to ensure that it is fair, competitive, meets the unique needs of the candidate and his or her family
- Manages the overall process strategically by keeping preferred candidates in play and guiding the search committee towards landing the candidate of its choice.