An Executive Director's point of view


January 09, 2018: Continuity

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
Focus on continuity planning, not succession planning.

Be prepared for an unexpected catastrophe. The CEO is hit by a truck. The Board Chair dies. A key staffer is charged with a crime (wrongfully, of course) in another state and is not allowed to leave.

There needs to be a plan to ensure the organization will continue operating without interruption.

But be wary of locking in leadership over a long period of time.

If, for example, the Board Chair is elected to a three year term and so is the Chair-elect, you will be stuck with those folks for the next six years.

What if you want to change direction? What if you no longer want that person to be the successor? What if your industry or profession experiences major changes and a different type of leader would be preferable?

And don't promise the CEO position to a current staffer. What if you don't want that person when the time comes? What if a better choice can be hired from the outside?

Always keep your options open.

January 11, 2017: Techies find solutions

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
Perhaps associations could find a role in this type of activity.

October 28, 2016: Think small

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
You don't have to try to mimic big companies to be successful.

You can snare a lot of great ideas from small businesses.
Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
An organization President, while pitching a proposal to a Foundation, was asked if the group had a long-term strategic plan.

The President replied that the organization had been in operation for thirty-three years, that it knew what it was doing, and that it did not need a strategic plan.

The Foundation told the group not to submit any more proposals.

Another organization declared that it would not be bound by plans and budgets and that it would implement whatever programs it thought were necessary, whenever it thought that should be done.

EVERY organization should have a plan (whatever the plan is called) and a budget. It should determine its priorities and identify the resources that will be allocated to those priorities. And it should not make a habit of doing things that were neither planned nor budgeted.

Unfortunately, quite a few groups will continue to operate without a plan or budget. They may not even be deterred by running out of money.

February 24, 2016: Can't

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
Some people will never utter that word. They may admit a task is challenging, difficult, tough, or requires more resources, but they'll never say it "can't" be done.

Well, there are a lot of things that can't be done, and insisting that they can be done and then trying to do them is frequently a waste of time (and often leads to failure).

It's wiser to tackle tasks that are doable and that are more likely to lead to success.

Having a can-do attitude means knowing how to select the proper strategy and then implementing it. It does not mean being willing to run head-first into brick walls.

February 15, 2016: Reality

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
You are more likely to succeed if you plan for the real world than for the dreamworld.

Remember this.

September 09, 2015: You don't look busy

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
But I am. I'm thinking.

If you have to write a letter or a report, edit a newsletter, create a new project, or conduct any of a multitude of association tasks, you are likely to do a much better job if you think and plan first.

You don't have to "look busy." You can pace, stare out the window, bounce a ball off the wall (unless that disturbs your co-workers), play a video game, or do whatever stimulates your brain.

Don't start writing or creating until you're ready. The end product will be much better.

September 02, 2015: But it's a good idea...

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
Associations should not pursue good ideas. They should pursue the best ideas.

You'll need to think and plan strategically to do that.

Determine your organization's mission, identify and prioritize the activities you feel will lead to fulfillment of that mission, and implement those programs that you have the resources to pursue.

If you identify 100 good ideas, for example, but only have the resources to implement three, select the three best ideas. Don't tackle #44 if you haven't first dealt with #2.

Utilize laser sharp focus in selection of your activities, and only do what you have the resources to do well. The more things you try to do, the less likely you'll succeed at any of them.

It's better to do an excellent job at a small number of programs than to do a mediocre job at many.

August 15, 2015: Do this for everybody

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
An article suggesting ways of marketing to millennials, suggested the following:

1. Consistently deliver value;
2. Build trust via quality products and excellent service.

Shouldn't you do that for everybody?

July 01, 2015: Do less, not more

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
Associations want to succeed. Sometimes, that means doing less, not more.

It's often better to conduct one or two excellent programs than it is to do a less than excellent job at eight or nine.

Measure success by how much you accomplish, not by how much you try to accomplish.
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