As an executive director, you might be feeling like you’re constantly juggling several types of obligations at once: Your organization’s, your board’s, and your own. With so much on your plate, it can be hard to know where to even start your plan of attack to get everything done.
While there is no easy answer, we’ve come up with three practices that should help you accomplish your own to-do list of goals AND impress your board. Check them out below!
1. Delegate to Your Staff
In a perfect world, your personal opinion of your organization's needs will seamlessly align with your board’s opinion. However, this scenario is not always the case and can often leave your workload a little (or A LOT) bloated with too much to do. So, what’s an easy way to help lighten the load without ignoring your obligations? Delegation!
You can start this process by determining some high-priority action items from feedback you’ve received from your board, staff, and members. Next, you should review your staff’s strengths and weaknesses to see where these initiatives would best be accomplished as well as consider your staff’s professional interests. Finally, try meeting with your staff and begin delegating ownership of these tasks. This process should allow for you to tackle more ground and expand your staff’s professional knowledge.
2. Participate in Continuing Education
It’s not uncommon to hear an organization's board tell their executive director to focus their efforts on “looking into the future.” While this is a great sentiment, the reality is that most of us are trying to target goals and perspectives needed for only the present or the near future. Our suggestion? Try attending several continuing education events (like webinars, luncheons, conferences, etc) to help break this mindset!
Engaging in continuing education events will help you keep up to date with what’s hot in your industry and help you implement new trends that could elevate the quality of your organization. In addition, these events can assist you in building and promoting your organization’s network, leading to future collaborations or even a potential partnerships! Sounds like a win-win to your board, right?
3. Follow Through with Self-Care
We all know that an overwhelmed executive director is no help to anyone at your organization, especially your board! While delegation will definitely help you out, sometimes it comes down to you knowing when enough is enough in your work day. We recommend looking at these simple self-care tricks to start implementing today:
- Cut back on long meetings (more than 1.5 hours). Your conversation partner is more likely to provide a concise point if they know there is a time-limit.
- Limit your email time to twice a day. It will allow for you to focus on tackling bigger picture topics as opposed to being chained to your inbox.
- Pick three projects to try and touch every day. Showing these varied initiatives will document your dynamic effort to satisfy several group’s expectations.
When it comes down to it, your organization’s board just wants to know you are seriously considering their expectations and have gone the extra mile to try and build this vital relationship. But what about when you’re feeling like there is a lack of momentum from their end?
Time and time again, organizational professionals see their great ideas fall into a black hole of board approval, sometimes never to be seen again – and that couldn’t be more true of association management software shopping. Check out our guide, How to Get Your Board on Board When Shopping for an AMS, to see what you can do to get the ball rolling!