|Posted by Stephen Lemire on November 3, 2011 at 10:50 AM|
2) Act socially; behave
professionally. Both as the public representative of your organization and
as its senior manager, you need to be approachable. However, keep in mind the
appropriate role that you must play in each situation.
3) Be guided by, and update regularly, your strategic plan. You need to continually work with your board and your staff to continue to meet the goals and objectives of your strategic plan. The most effective plans are those which are dynamic, not static.
4) Encourage organizational growth and change. We have all heard the response, “because we've always done it that way.” Take that as a cue to ask “Why?” and “What else had been tried before?” In many cases there are better and more efficient ways to go about your business as your environment changes. (See #3)
5) Accept no complaint unless it’s followed by a recommendation. An organization can quickly de-evolve into one with a negative environment. When, instead, staff and board members can feel increasingly valued for their input, suggestions, and contributions.
6) Seek out methods of professional development. Keep learning. Do not fall victim to the potential isolationism which can quickly sap an executive director's enthusiasm. Sharing best practices with other executive directors, serving on external committees, taking interesting courses are all ways to maintain your energy and to continue to bring a fresh perspective to your many roles.
7) Create and foster external alliances. Working with other organizations in your field or different types of nonprofits helps you to bring new strategies back to your organization. It can also help to identify new partnerships around issues such as joint funding initiatives, group purchasing efforts, and shared operations.
Ask for help when needed. You are not expected to have all the answers. However, you are expected to find the best answers. Seek help as needed from board members, staff, peers, consultants, etc.
9) Get excited; not impulsive. For each new idea that you have, you must weigh it on a continuum that ranges from deliberate to impulsive. Use your excitement to roll out the idea in a timely manner, but be sure that it is tempered by asking appropriate questions to ensure that this is the right idea at the right time.
10) Leave people laughing and smiling. As in #1 above, you are the face of your organization and you want your organization to be remembered by its various constituents. Making a pleasant, professional, and lasting impression is a sure way to do this.
Earlier version published in Massnonprofit.org, September 6, 2007.