Further guidance for the first-time ED

Spend the first two weeks listening, and the next two weeks talking.  In any job you have to find out what’s going on before you try to change it, but in the Executive Director’s chair it’s equally important to announce (and repeat, and repeat, and repeat, and repeat) your own intentions.  If you say nothing, the Board will assume you’re not doing anything and the staff will decide you have a secret agenda.

"Intentions" like what?  It can be something as dramatic and concrete as "I was hired to execute the strategic plan" or something as nebulous and touchy-feely as "My goal is to continue all the great work you’ve been doing and find ways of doing more of it;" but say something. Otherwise the buzz of your activity will come across as nothing but an annoying whine. 

And NEVER say you’ve come to clean house–even if you have.  Especially if you have.  This for the simple reason that no one likes to think of him/herself as dirt; and what sounds like the stirring call to battle to you will sound like Taps to everyone who was there before you arrived.



One Response to “Further guidance for the first-time ED”

  1. Jerry Case Says:

    I once worked for a man who upon his arrival, did in fact publicly announce that he was there to clean house. The battle lines were drawn that day and all productive work stopped and remained that way until he was replaced two years latter.

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