Newsletter – October 28, 2010

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Is your Executive Director being evaluated on the wrong things, making goal-setting easier, and more

Hello friends,

I hope you enjoyed our last monthly newsletter!  We’re excited about the new batch of resources below — some from us, some from our clients, and some from other places.  Read on:

1. Is Your Executive Director Being Evaluated on the Wrong Things? 
It sounds obvious:  when boards evaluate executive directors, they should consider what the ED actually achieved. Too often, we see boards focus primarily on how the ED works — in essence whether she operates competently, fulfills basic responsibilities, and plays nicely with others. While these “performance factors” are certainly important and in some respects lay the groundwork for future success — or struggles — they are far from the whole ball of wax. In this piece, we urge boards to emphasize the “what,” not just the “how,” when evaluating the ED. And to make that easier, here’s a sample ED evaluation your organization may want to use or modify.

2. Micromanaging Isn’t Always a Dirty Word
While micromanaging typically gets a bad rap, Christine Riordan points out in this Forbes article that there are times when a good manager should micromanage, including when a project is lingering, a strategy is changing, or results are disappointing. And she reiterates a reminder that’s our own mantra as well: “If your close supervision is needed for a very long stretch, you may not have the right employee or leader in place for the assigned workload.”

3. Make Goal-Setting Easier  
If you’re in the process of setting goals for 2011, here’s a tool that might be just in time: this “success sheet” will help you and your staff get clear on what success will look like and plan activities to get there, making it easier to achieve the results you want.

4. Better Project Plans
For complex projects, you should have a written plan that lays out who will do what by when. By including information about each step, interim deadlines, and notes on various stakeholders, you can remove a lot of the chaos and stress of having numerous moving pieces to juggle. Here’s an excerpt from a client (with the names changed to protect the innocent) that demonstrates the right amount of detail to capture.

5. Book Recommendation: Switch
I love the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip and Dan Heath. This book is a fascinating summary of how to make difficult changes stick — socially, organizationally, and personally. Filled with lessons like “follow the bright spots” (investigate what’s working and clone it), “shrink the change” (break down change until it no longer scares people), and “script the critical moves” (focus on specific behaviors, not just the big picture), Switch has valuable applications for anyone who’s trying to tackle problems in the world, as well as for leaders trying to effect internal change in their organizations.

I hope you find these resources useful! And if you’ve come across any helpful resources yourself lately, or if there’s a particularly great tool or memo that you’ve created in your organization, we’d love to see it. And don’t forget — if we feature it in an upcoming email, you’ll get a great gift!


Jerry Hauser
The Management Center

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