I am seen by the board, our membership, and the public as an outstandingly successful CEO, great at generating ideas and money. My passion is not operations, and my staff can tell. They describe me as demanding and unsupportive. I do my best to be fair and diplomatic, but the turnover rate says I’m doing something wrong. Any suggestions?
You must be very talented; many CEOs dream of high-visibility success and full coffers. It takes more than talent, though, to sustain success; you and your organization are vulnerable to the degree you have an undernourished support team. Either you have to find it in yourself to care about the people who work for you—and about what they do—or you have to hire someone to take that role for you.
The recognition you report is all external, and you admit to a limited interest in internal operations. Play to your strengths if you can afford it: use your public relations skills to advance the association and your innovation skills to inspire top-notch services. Meanwhile, find a highly competent partner to manage internal affairs—someone committed to excellent operations and a culture that attracts talented workers.
If an operations professional is not in the cards, then you have to shift your priorities to include your staff. Until you truly recognize the value of your support team, they will have no reason to be loyal to you. And you can’t do it without them.
Published in Associations Now, November 2006