I’m not saying please, I’m not being reasonable, I’m making the decision

13 08 2010

Ever read or hear a statement that just begs to be quoted? When it happens to me, I may not know when I’ll use it, but it’s just so appropriate to something that I have to write it down. I may be watching TV or a movie with my husband, or reading a novel. It may be in a nonfiction book or a random sentence in a magazine.

This time, it was a line in an early episode of the FOX drama, Bones. Dr. Walker, head of the fictitious Jeffersonian Institute, was finally fed up. He had already explained, many times, the priorities of a case to his extremely intelligent and all-too-eager-to-argue staff.  He had other constituents to serve; he knew what had to be done, and he had to ensure their completion.

“I’m not saying please, I’m not being reasonable, I’m making the decision,” he declared, and walked out of the room.

Harsh. However, in a situation when someone has to stop the wheels from spinning, the executive makes that decision. Definitely, concretely, and in no uncertain terms. There may be fallout, but the job of the executive is to make the hard decisions and anticipate and mitigate any negative effects.

It’s not fun to be the dictator, but as Dr. Walker (or the show’s writers) illustrated, it is sometimes part of the job.

What hard decisions have you had to make on behalf of your organization? What might have happened if you hadn’t stepped up and taken charge?

Advertisements




WELCOMING YOUR INTERIM EXECUTIVE: 6 critical steps toward making it work

26 07 2009

Interim Executive, Acting Exec, Temporary Exec…whatever you call us, we have this in common. We’re not expected to be here very long, and we have a lot to do in that time. If all you need is a placeholder, you wouldn’t spend the dollars for a professional. So it’s on the Interim Executive’s shoulders to make a difference quickly.

Your mileage may vary, but I find there are a few initial steps that have to happen to launch a successful interim situation. Read the rest of this entry »





WHY AN INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR?

19 07 2009

I’m working as an Interim Executive Director again! It’s for a great nonprofit organization, with a truly committed board and staff. The past three weeks have been incredibly intense: being an interim means that the usual getting-to-know you period has to be shortened, as I try my best to get a quick grasp of the organization, its mission, its priorities, the personalities, and how things are done, in order to be effective in the short time I might be at this organization.

Despite the intensity, I’m getting nothing but support from the people here. As I told my husband, it’s like the Verizon commercial with the lone cell phone user surrounded by Verizon personnel: I’ve got people. The Board is working hard at finding a permanent replacement for the previous Executive Director, but they took an important step in hiring an Interim while they conduct the search.

In fact, the situation reminds me of a post I put up on another blog (the Nonprofit Watercooler). Prosaically titled, “Why Hire an Interim Exec or Director,” it walks through the benefits of having someone at the helm while you seek a new hire.

Since I still firmly hold to everything that was in that original article, this time I’m just going to point you to that post. Meanwhile, I’m working on another article about  how the actual benefit of having an Interim may depend on the quality of the support s/he gets from the Board of Directors and staff. So next week, I’ll share some steps to getting that Interim Executive relationship – and perhaps any new Executive Director’s work – off to a grand start.

Meanwhile, enjoy!