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  • Barry's Blog: Reports on Alternative Venues, Eliminating Budgets in Grant Applications, and Thoughts from Thomas Cott
    the result of many months of planning and engagement 2 Share ownership Invite communities to fully participate by sharing ownership Don t just go to new places to give art to the people there Listen to that community and learn from it 3 Partner up Efforts of this type are enabled by a broad array of partnerships involving community groups and other local organizations private businesses donors and foundations 4 Prepare to invest and adapt This work is often labor time and resource intensive Pursuing it may require rethinking programming business models and funding 5 Aim for engagement This work is not about luring audiences back to a conventional venue There may be some audience crossover but project objectives should focus on engagement at the chosen locations not hope for engagement somewhere else later on 6 Open new doors It s not an all or nothing game New sites have been successfully integrated as part of an organization s total offering the majority of which still occurs in less unusual places Placemaking has gained wide traction in our field based on the common assumption that the arts can play an instrumental role in defining and making meaningful place This report intelligently suggests that place itself plays an equally defining and meaningful role in the health of the arts Great report II The second report that caught my eye was on the GIA site Entitled Why One Funder Eliminated Grantee Budgets to Improve Financial Due Diligence The Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock on Long Island awards approximately 12 million annually to nearly 200 organizations nationwide After working with a consultant to overhaul the financial component of its application process the program eliminated requests for budgets last year The Foundation Review published the case study titled In Other Words the Budgets Are Fake Why One Funder Eliminated Grantee Budgets to Improve Financial Due Diligence Through this report the Veatch Program proposes one model for reducing administrative burden on applicants while simultaneously getting a clearer picture of an applicants financial well being and capacity to fulfill project goals While this report will have particular meaning to funders it ought to be read by rank and file arts organizations as well as it examines the problems attendant to the lack of standards in budgetary preparation having multiple budget approaches for multiple purposes and the confusion that results from unrealistic projections of income As a field we really need to get a handle on our budgets and the financial health of our organizations those budgets purport to represent III Finally here is a link to a brief interview with Thomas Cott he of the highly regarded and widely praised You ve Cott Mail blog and if you don t subscribe to his blog you really ought to We don t get enough of Thomas own insights and thinking He is a very smart marketer and observer of the issues in our field Here s a sample Question What do you see as the

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/12/reports-on-alternative-venues.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Five Tips to Get Through the Holidays Productively
    just may not make notify those expecting something from you and try to negotiate a postponement You will go crazy if you end up with the old college standby of trying to pull an all nighter to meet a deadline In my coaching sessions I advise people to never schedule a deadline for any important report study memo etc between Thanksgiving and the New Year 3 Minimize Meetings of all kinds Don t call any meetings yourself unless they are absolutely necessary and beg off attending as many meetings called by others that you can If you have to schedule meetings cut way back on the time they take If you need feedback and brainstorming ideas try to get people to email you their brief and concise responses Be clear on what you need from others but remember the pressures of the season impact us all Don t have unrealistic expectations of input from other people but DO make unambiguously clear what you expect from staff subordinates and from co workers alike Try as you will you won t be able to squeeze 30 hours into a 24 hour day though one wishes one could 4 Manage your communications Clean out your email box asap And do that daily Remember you don t have to respond to every email you get And the more emails you send the more responses you will get Same with phone calls Cut back Way back Again prioritize what information you need from others and what information you need to communicate to others The reality is that you don t have time to communicate as you normally do most of the year Forget social networking You ve got to say NO to a lot of things The key is to focus on your lists 5 Plan out that first week in January now Know in advance what you will need to do to begin the new year on the right foot Schedule essential contacts meetings now that will be important for you then If you wait until January you could easily waste an entire week just trying to schedule calls and meetings It will be much easier to do that now Put yourself in a position to be productive on your return to work Don t squander that first week or postpone things until the second week That is wasted and valuable time The holiday season can be stressful and exhausting And its aftermath may be to make you feel as though you are behind on everything and that s not good for your morale or for the morale of those who work for you or with you Forget New Year s resolutions Instead resolve now to be really organized and productive for the next two weeks and to position yourself to hit the ground running come January 3rd And to the extent it is possible try to get your subordinates and co workers to adopt a similar attitude Good luck and enjoy your holidays

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/11/five-tips-to-get-through-holidays.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: You Can't Always Get What You Want
    develop the skill of recognizing what others may need and approaching any negotiation be it for collaboration or otherwise and all relationships are a negotiation of one form or another with the goal of making sure all the parties get not what they want but what they need to make it work for them The process of thinking through what it is that you really need to make something work is in itself invaluable in helping you define what it is you need and getting it And knowing what the other party needs and helping them to get it can make the relationship more meaningful and successful In some sense getting what you need ought to be what you want It would be a perfect world if all sides in any relationship could always get what they want but I think those situations are rare I m not criticizing any approach that might actually yield that result and perhaps some collaborations or other situations lend themselves to that kind of an outcome but many more do not And in those other situations which I think are probably in the majority I think a focus on what you need and what the other party or parties need stands the better chance of making the collaboration or situation work If that dovetails with what each party wants great but it may be an unreasonable expectation going in Have a great week And Happy Thanksgiving to all Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 12 11 AM No comments Post a Comment Newer Post Older Post Home Subscribe to Post Comments Atom Creative Vitality Suite Defined by the 59 SOC codes used in CVSuite Subscribe via email Enter your email address Delivered by FeedBurner Subscribe via Reader Subscribe in a reader Barry s Blog is a service of the Western States Arts Federation WESTAF The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of WESTAF Followers Buy Barry s Book HARDBALL LOBBYING FOR NONPROFITS Barry learned political advocacy the hard way convincing the California legislature to multiply many fold its investment in arts funding In his new book Barry extracts the lessons of his long experience into a readable and impassioned tutorial that has broad application throughout the nonprofit sector John Kriedler former President Community Initiative Fund This is a powerful provocative and daring look at the ups and downs of fighting for beliefs The book straightforwardly mixes together simple clear definitions strong opinions new ideas and in your face strategies all designed to help the good guys win Robert L Lynch President CEO Americans for the Arts Hardball Lobbying is an essential tool for every nonprofit leader who wants to see systems change and public dollars flow to the causes they care about Tim Wolfred Psy D Director of Leadership Services CompassPoint For those who want to begin a nonprofit I can think of no better guide and toolkit that Hardball Government students should read this as an insight into

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/11/you-cant-always-get-what-you-want.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: What I Have Learned - 2014 Edition
    untested ideas After all these are not best practices This is a way of thinking that needs to change Arts organizations should be as risky innovative and exciting as guess what artists are People in the nonprofit arts need to strive for work life balance Um no not really This idea feeds into the neoliberal construction that has encompassed our world that equates the economy with life Think about it Work life balance means equating work with well everything else Life Seriously Working in the arts does tend to be a calling not a job and I don t think that s a bad thing Nonprofits are mission driven so the people running them should be mission driven as well If you are here simply because it s a good job you are in the wrong field That said we do tend to take on the martyr to the cause role which is not healthy either and leads to the burnout that has generated this very popular work life balance shibboleth I prefer to think of work life integration that my personal life and needs are integral to my sense of my self as is my work and I need to find ways to integrate the multiple aspects of my life including work into a life that is well lived The only person asking you to sacrifice everything to the nonprofit cause is yourself Get over it Create a meaningful life that includes all the things that matter to you Otherwise why bother These are just a few of the shibboleths that are out there and I m happy to say that they also form some of the cornerstone ideas of the curriculum and content of the Graduate Arts Leadership Program that it has been my privilege to originate and operate at USC in Los Angeles It is unlike any other similarly named program in the country We strive mightily to encourage participants in the program to question everything especially those shibboleths that get in your way and tell you can or can t do something that matters to you and to our world As is probably evident by now I find inspiration in artists creative individuals and collectives who follow their passion wherever it takes them who thrive on innovation and originality and abjure work that is derivative and who create a complicated but rewarding life for themselves As arts leaders arts administrators cultural practitioners whatever we call ourselves shouldn t we do the same Linda Essig Professor Pave Program Arts Entrepreneurship Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts Arizona State University Thank you for the opportunity to participate You ve posed a HUGE question but I opted for thinking fast intuitively rather than thinking slow rationally and jotted down five first thoughts while on a plane Bonus entry a lot of good thinking can happen on long plane rides Learning is or should be a lifelong endeavor it is necessary to always be learning in order to lead facilitate and manage change and complexity We live and work in a climate that is rapidly changing both literally and figuratively Working in the arts and culture sector requires a commitment to always be learning This does not mean always following the latest fads or trends but rather always be open and willing to learn deeply about the issues that will affect the work the people who make it and the people who participate in it in myriad ways We live and work in a complex market driven economy whether you want to exploit that system or subvert it and beat it into submission learn as much as you can about it Prioritize and honor relationships with individual human people ahead of honoring relationships with the work itself or the organization This is not a clichéd statement about work life balance but rather about the fact that people want to collaborate with people donors want to give to people and it is people who are in our audiences Organizational structures matter yes but people matter most Build one on one relationships pick up the phone even when an email will do better yet grab a cup of coffee or a meal together NO is an exercise of power but YES is an exercise of empowerment Find a way to say yes empowering others will empower you and support creativity The audience community is the artist s most important collaborator Nobody likes playing to an empty house and paintings piling up in the proverbial dusty garret help nobody most especially not the artist Artists can make work that is both for themselves and for their audience community This is true in the classroom too my students are my most important collaborators in their learning and in mine To get to the point of collaboration the community needs to invite you in Collaboration is a bi directional or multi directional relationship An artist can t go into a community or have access to a community unless they are invited in or generously given that access Kary Schulman Director Grants for the Arts San Francisco CA What I ve Learned A random list of 15 aphorisms most having no specific reference to the arts developed over 40 years of working in arts administration and funding and one piece of advice from an obscure U S President 1 Leadership is to an arts organization what location is to real estate If you have it not much else matters if you don t have it not much else matters 2 Whoever cares the most wins A small number of tenacious and highly motivated people can overcome thwart the wishes of large numbers of adversaries with less strongly held convictions 3 In times of plenty plan for scarcity In times of scarcity plan for plenty 4 Freely give credit and gratitude be more parsimonious with blame 5 If possible try not to find reasons why things can t happen If possible always try to find ways to make things happen 6 When in an adversarial situation try to find the smartest and most eloquent adversary Your ideas are stronger after testing against the best opponents 7 Never make excuses Own your mistakes 8 In a job candidate The right attitude energy and chemistry are generally more important than specific skills A talented generalist can learn to do almost anything 9 When someone says It s not about the money It s usually about the money 10 If it ain t broke don t break it 11 Partner relationships are important important relationships are often with unlikely partners 12 When asked about cultural competency it occurred to me that cultural humility might be more appropriate 13 The only law that s always followed never broken is the Law of Unintended Consequences I ve learned this from over 30 years of working in government 14 Long ago I was given very good advice by a supervisor He said Don t do anything stupid just because you re following your own rules 15 All change is not reform And finally some advice attributed to Calvin Coolidge possibly apocryphal If you see six or seven big and overwhelming problems rolling down the hill toward you rather than tackling all sometimes it s better to stand still and take a breath Often some of them will roll on their own into the ditch and then you can deal with the ones that are still coming Diane Ragsdale Blogger Jumper What have I learned in the past 20 years that seems worth sharing For 15 of the past 20 years my life centered on work and as a result when I encountered periods when I was without work I lost all sense of contributing anything of value to the world And I was lonely Work in various art worlds brings social and cultural capital and when both are rising one s life can feel incredibly rich and rewarding However it s important to have a sense of self separate from work and relationships in this world as both can disappear in an instant When you finally get a seat at the table resist the temptation to start speaking immediately and loudly Listen for a period of time When you have the opportunity to share your thoughts speak clearly courageously and with all due respect On the flip side after you ve been at the table for years and the field has heard your two cents on all the issues of the day and then some don t make others wrestle the talking stick out of your hand Pass it along willingly and use your influence in the field to advance others Know which art forms artists genres or styles you really love and which you do not In other words have a point of view about art What s your aesthetic Can you write an essay on it Can you name five composers playwrights directors choreographers or visual artists who interest you greatly Do you know why they interest you No matter your job in the arts and culture sector make it a goal to cultivate and develop your aesthetic sensibility over time Make time to read some of the seminal memoirs histories research reports and journal articles that have been published in your field over the past 30 50 years If you don t know where to start ask a mentor for a reading list If you don t have a mentor get one As someone who has been immersed in the history of the resident theater movement for five years I can attest to the value of studying history and talking to those who made it in order to better understand the challenges of today and possible ways forward Cultivate your inner philosopher and make time to daydream For as long as I can remember I have made it a habit to carve out time every week to basically think Sometimes this is focused pondering mapping a problem to work through it logically and sometimes this is staring out a window and allowing my mind to roam freely Many problems can be solved and ideas generated with an hour spent doing either Related to the last point I chuckle today at dilemmas that stole entire nights of sleep when I was in my 20s and 30s Some of this is my personality but it s also true that with experience comes perspective The longer you do anything the more you realize that even the most difficult problems often can be resolved if addressed ideally as soon as they are recognized If you feel in over your head reach out to others and ask for guidance The outcome may not always be the one you hoped for but life will go on and you will be OK If you gain your street cred in the field as the cheeky wunderkind or fighter of the establishment and this is how many reputations are made then the skills tactics personality and behaviors that you cultivate early in your career may work against you once you find yourself in a position of authority within the establishment You may need to shift from pay attention to me mode to listen and learn mode You may need to cultivate grace I ve learned that I am impatient with myself and others This may be the flipside of being someone that generally can be counted on to deliver but it also creates unnecessary stress in the workplace I want to do great work and I want to be a decent human being however these goals can be in conflict Walking the tightrope between them is one of my challenges These days I try to recognize immediately when I m sacrificing relationships to performance at work and make a course correction One of the greatest things you will learn as time goes by is who you are what makes you tick your best and worst qualities often flipsides of the same coin the roles you perform well and those you perform poorly Put this information to good use and your life will be better for it Gary Steuer President Bonfils Stanton Foundation 1 Fully engage your team in the process and the objective not just their task In my first job out of college working as an aide to a United States Congressman began as an intern and eventually joined the staff where I served for three years the Congressman s Chief of Staff went out of his way to explain to me how every task I was assigned no matter how seemingly trivial or menial contributed to a larger agenda It would have been very easy for him to simply assign me a research project or ask me to draft a press release Instead he would make me feel valued and would give me the context I needed to both feel motivated in implementing my task and to feel a part of the bigger picture He was also a brutal but kind editor often making me re do a piece of writing a dozen times before it was finally acceptable But along with the criticism came explanation of why sentences did not work why points were not made effectively This approach to supervising staff and building a sense of shared commitment to a vision and to excellence has always stayed with me I also learned the lesson to respect and nurture everybody including junior staff and interns 2 When you get to a position of leadership being liked all the time is no longer possible As you are working your way up in a career it is easy and valuable to always be part of the club of colleagues where possible It has been my experience that while assholes and backstabbers may flourish in the short term their duplicity and lack of humanity virtually always comes back to undermine them at some point especially in a field like the nonprofit arts However when you get to be an ED or CEO it just is no longer possible to be part of the gang You will have to make tough calls about budgets and allocation of resources about hiring and firing and compensation and a little bit of distance from your team is essential That does not mean you can t be a good humane honest person and have that be a part of your leadership style The best illustration of this I saw was in a leadership training based on Shakespeare run by Tina Packer of Shakespeare and Company in Massachusetts and John Whitney former CEO of Pathmark They co authored a book called Power Plays Shakespeare s Lessons in Leadership and Management and taught a companion course at Columbia B school When I was running the Arts Business Council we ran a televised series of arts and business forums and they did a condensed version of one of their classes for a corporate audience for one of our forums using live Shakespeare Company actors One of their Lessons used Henry V to illustrate that as young Hal grew into King Henry he had to leave behind Falstaff as part of his growth into leadership The transition while painful to both was important to King Henry being respected as a leader and not distracted by Falstaff s influence It doesn t mean you can t go out for a beer with your staff now and then but a little distance is not a bad thing 3 We are running businesses about changing the world for the better through the arts and that must be reflected in our values and our organizational structures Having spent a good part of my career in arts management policy and philanthropy at the intersection of the arts and business I have had the benefit of observing lots of corporations in action getting to understand their values and corporate culture A number of years ago at an Alliance for Nonprofit Management conference Paul Light of the Brookings Institute gave a keynote talk where he pressed back on the common nonprofit language of how we need to be more businesslike to emulate the organization rigor and strategic focus of the for profit sector He noted that increasingly the most successful companies were in fact more non profit like in that they were driven by a desire to improve people s lives and value and respect their employees In fact this trend has only accelerated Look at Google Tom s Shoes the rise of B Corps Yet many nonprofits including arts groups seem to try to model themselves on IBM from the 50 s with strict hierarchies rigid approval and decision making protocols departments org charts job titles etc Let s be humane let s adopt structures that are right for what we do We are supposed to be creative let s be creative in how we manage as well Let s offer great benefits and reasonable compensation to our employees and if that means a smaller team for now or fewer productions or exhibitions so be it In the long run that team that is valued and treated as such WILL lead to success and ultimately better and more artistic output 4 Increase your tolerance for risk No organization has ever become successful always playing it safe nor has any leader Yet I feel too many arts groups and too many arts leaders have operated in a way that is more about self preservation than anything else I have learned both through success and failure that we must learn to be risk takers to be bold It may sound trite but failure done right is a learning opportunity and will lead to more success in the future AKA the start up mantra fail faster We must guide our boards to understand this as well It has always astonished me how high level corporate leaders who in their own work deeply understand the risk return

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/11/what-i-have-learned-2015-edition.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: What the Election Means - Part II
    they live and work in Education policy including Common Core and policies for evaluating school progress and teacher effectiveness and unequal school budgets has an extremely important effect on the long run health of culture in the US far more than the budgets of granting agencies And that s just a beginning I support sound and stable funding for federal and state arts agencies But in this election they are not the major issues facing the future of the arts While I agree with Professor Rushton that the issues of health care education and many others are critically important to the future of the arts I disagree that the funding mechanism let alone the existence of the NEA is not equally important to our future I suppose what anyone thinks is important to our future depends on whom you are talking to and what they do But in the big picture any attack on the arts like the attacks on the funding level or even very existence of the Endowment go towards marginalizing and diminishing the value of the arts in the public mindset And that marginalization or devaluation impacts everything that might be important to our future including our success in education policy that frames the arts and in health care for artists I also note that I didn t specifically suggest people write their letter in support of the Endowment or its funding at this time We haven t yet been attacked on that front Let s not anticipate it and fuel the notion I merely suggested people write in support of the value of the arts and it is that value that might just help to position the arts better at the tables for other issues Moreover I don t see it as an either or situation We don t have to pick between things that are important to our future We don t have to choose between those that think this priority is important and those that think another priority is more important The classic strategy of divide and conquer is to get us to do exactly that In large part those choices are a matter of opinion We ought not to get sucked into the trap of exhalting one priority over another For those organizations and the work they do that depends in part on funding from the Endowment I suspect nothing is more important to their future and the work they do than threats to the NEA s funding level or its existence Included in that subset are a number of smaller rural state agencies who depend in large part on Endowment funding to survive along with a huge number of performing arts organizations and much of the arts education programming in the country and the tens of thousands of people supported by that work What the election means in a negative sense for the arts is the elevation of a number of those whose position is that the arts should not be supported

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/11/what-election-means-part-ii.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: What Tomorrow's Election Means for the Nonprofit Arts
    to constantly organize to make that case If you re always treading water it s difficult to finally get to shore No matter what the outcome tomorrow here s what every single arts organization and all the individuals who comprise our universe ought to do 1 Write a letter ONE letter congratulating the elected official on their victory first time or re election stating that you and or your organization reside in the elected official s district and then outline the value of the arts in your district including some data and study references nothing that has to be too complicated two or three bullet points ought to suffice include a story about some real live person positively impacted by the arts in your area and finish by urging the elected official to meet with you so you can share with them why the arts are essential to his her constituents Send that letter to your U S Congressman woman and if your Senator was re elected or newly elected to him or her Send the same letter to your newly elected or re elected state representatives and Governor And to the local city council Board of Supervisors and Mayor who were elected or re elected So one letter seven or eight copies You just have to change the name and address on each Not so hard Maybe you can include a signed Resolution from your Board of Directors Ask your friends and supporters to send a letter too Soon And then follow up with a telephone call in about two weeks If you want to really help you will need to stay on them for several months as the budgetary process plods forward Meet with them invite them to your events lobby them and their staffs Relentlessly Finally just like you change your smoke alarm batteries every Daylight Savings Time or every New Year s maybe you could send a 10 or 20 check to your local state or national advocacy group every election day It would help And maybe somebody out there can figure out a way we can avoid going through this every election cycle Perhaps someday we can convince Congress that funding for the Endowments ought to be multi year say on a three year cycle Then we would only have to defend our local and state funding budgets every year And the Endowments every three years And one more thing VOTE and urge everyone else to vote too Maybe the outcome will be the election or re election of solid arts supporters and we won t have to go through all the motions yet once again Maybe not Have a great week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 9 44 PM No comments Post a Comment Newer Post Older Post Home Subscribe to Post Comments Atom Creative Vitality Suite Defined by the 59 SOC codes used in CVSuite Subscribe via email Enter your email address Delivered by FeedBurner Subscribe via Reader Subscribe in

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/11/what-tomorrows-election-means-for.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Thoughts on Hiring Key Staff
    take a long hard look at what is going right and what is going gone wrong and assess very specifically what is needed in the replacement hire but very often we don t do that either We create an inaccurate picture in our own minds as to what we are looking for gloss over the mistakes made live in a somewhat fantasy world and in being so cavalier about the challenge we do a tremendous disservice to our own organization s future Back to the building trades analogy professional house painters will tell you that painting the house is relatively easy and quick The hard and time consuming work is in the preparation And it is that preparation that is key to a satisfactory result a professional result The same is true in our candidate searches Once the self assessment is done so as to determine with specificity the kind of qualities skills and experience you are really looking for or should be and by inference what is not necessarily needed in a candidate the search and decision itself need not be nearly as time consuming as we make it I know of numerous searches in our field that take a year or longer That s unhealthy for the organization puts undue pressure on the existing staff and interim leadership puts the organization in an unfortunate limbo and quite frankly is irresponsible Much of the due diligence in determining before the process starts of what you are looking for really ought to start before the key person leaves whether voluntarily or involuntarily And unless people are burying the head in the sand more often than not you know when a change looms on the horizon At the very least I would urge everyone at least for new Executive Director level hires to spend a lot more time in preparation for the search So please consider that the essence of a good search is first and foremost in searching for the keys to where your organization is currently and for the future at what you need and how you might best find what you need And the critical element is honest self assessment When you settle on a couple of potential candidates don t make the final decision based on a single interview Have a great week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 10 00 PM 4 comments Morrie Warshawski October 27 2014 at 1 55 PM Barry Interesting blog One thing I would caution is that it s not the number of interviews that matters but the quality and conduct of the iterviews themselves That s where most organizations go wrong The most interesting work on this area has been done by Daniel Kahneman and is detailed in his fascinating book THINKING FAST AND SLOW A quick summary of what he recommends can be found at http www businessinsider com daniel kahneman on hiring decisions 2013 1 Morrie Reply Delete Replies Barry October 28 2014 at 2 31

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/10/thoughts-on-hiring-key-staff.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Deciphering the Lexicon of the Job Description
    some unnecessary hoops and we will probably make this process last longer than it need to Don t call If you don t hear back from us we re chasing somebody else If we have enough money we have hired a Search Firm to do all this for us It s a crap shoot we know but at least we can hope some pro can beat the odds for us and more importantly we won t have to deal with it ourselves Now this is of course a gross exaggeration on all levels but there is truth in the contention that our job descriptions as often as not have become meaningless We can probably all save some time if we just post the opening announcement Wanted Executive Director for the XYZ organization We all know what they are looking for in their ideal candidate Have a great week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 1 58 PM 4 comments Lex January 17 2011 at 10 58 AM Barry I must say I m mildly shocked to read this post from you I suspect many people read your blog to be challenged and inspired and this post while completely true ignores the fact that unrealistic expectations are absolutely the reason many emerging leaders get executive director jobs High functioning EDs at healthy organizations don t leave their current job for this position The organization you describe financial challenges unclear path disagreement among stakeholders about vision chooses one of three people a change agent a fundraiser or an emerging leader The person who already identifies him herself as a change agent or fundraiser may be happy sticking around for a couple of years and moving on to a bigger organization for a higher salary The emerging leader will find their first job as executive director to be the ultimate career challenge But you only have to look in the Bay Area to find amazing success stories Deborah Cullinan and Jessica Robinson Love are two who spring to mind There is so much talk about professional development one thing your post makes me realize is that there is no workshop that takes emerging leaders through the process of applying for their first executive director job Key elements should include how to assess the financial trends of an organization how to clarify division of responsibilities between management and board in an employment contract determining physical plant and hr issues assessing perception of the organization by key stakeholders The job description is unlikely to change but the way we approach it can And any emerging leader who will be able to succeed as a first time director will face his her first important test in the interview process working with the board and staff to gain a clear picture of priorities and challenges and make an honest case for why they would be a good choice So what can be done to help them Reply Delete Barry January 17 2011 at 12 21

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2011/01/deciphering-lexicon-of-job-description.html (2016-05-01)
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