When asked what should be included in an Executive Director’s report to the board, I responded with this model of “OARS” to help the board be aware of the steering environment:
- O = Opportunities . . . that the organization can (and perhaps should) pursue
- A = Accomplishments . . . both little and big successes
- R = Risk factors . . . things that look like they might go wrong, including action taken to mitigate these.
- S = Surprises . . . that the ED encountered. Yes — even in a well run organization, with very professional staff, there are surprises
This model was inspired by the “Significant events” report I had file each week when I was a mid-level manager at General Electric. Each of my staff had to write such a report to me, and I distilled and condensed these, along with my own list, in my report to senior management. Our “significant events” were named differently, but functioned in the same way to alert our managers about situations that would likely develop — either into more mature problems, or into inspiring successes.
The underlying value here is truth telling. I knew it was easy for my staff to report great successes, or opportunities that seemed to be developing. It was much harder to report those out of control situations that could get worse, those stakeholders whose dismay was escalating, those situations that seemed only to work against us. But my job was to know of such situations, and to organize appropriate responses. Were I kept in the dark, I couldn’t really do my job.
September 6, 2012
I was so impressed with this article by George Ambler, that I’m posting this link to the article, The everyday tasks of leadership.
Ambler talks about three major leadership tasks:
- Setting direction (mission, vision, values)
- Building commitment (trust, accountability, cooperation)
- Creating alignment (common ground, shared responsibility)
Are there others that he left out? Do all the significant leadership tasks fit into these three themes? Please share you comments on this blog, and let’s make this a fruitful discussion.
September 19, 2010
Why did I have to travel with this colleague, for whom everything about Europe was wrong?
It was a beautiful Saturday morning when we arrived at the Holmenkollen Ski Hotel, atop a small mountain on the east side of Oslo. I took a quick shower, then a short nap to recover from the long airline flight, and a delightful buffet breakfast before starting my trek down the small road to Oslo city center. But my colleague stayed behind, “to watch television”. And when I completed my downhill adventures, enjoyed a quiet day of art galleries, city walking, and gourmet foot, and took a train back up the mountain to the hotel, his only comments was, “The coke was warm!”.
Our next stop was the town of Hilversum, the radio and TV center of Holland. I always like to work hard and live well, and so when our consulting was finished I took him to one of the finest but least formal restaurants I knew — a small auberge in the seaside village of Oude Loosdrecht.
January 28, 2010
An important lesson for any professional to learn is that not all money is green. There are some clients you just don’t want as clients, and the sooner you learn to turn them away the better. Some lack integrity, others don’t really want advice, guidance, or collaboration. Others don’t know how to work respectfully with professionals.
Yes, the sooner you move away from them (even if at some cost), and cast you lot with great clients, the more you’ll prosper and enjoy life.
January 28, 2010
Effective managing involves catalyzing, facilitating, inspiring, modeling, organizing, creating respected methods of accountability, and much more.
But there’s more than just such outward tasks, I believe. Dancers take class every day to keep up their physical agility. Creative and successful professionals need to nourish our right-brain agility. One of the important tasks of management today is to foster that agility, and the kinds of preparation that lead to it.
How to do that? Well, that’s why we have organizations like the Center For Creative Emergence in the Washington DC area. That’s why I do the consulting and run the workshops that I run in New England, that’s why many of us are exploring other initiatives in this relatively new area.