Consider these two scenarios
and how you would manage them.
You are hired as the new
Executive Director for a medium size human services agency in a small city
adjacent to a large metropolitan area. You have no
prior experience with or specific knowledge of either the agency or the local
community. The previous Executive Director resigned, in part due to significantly
deteriorated agency relationships with some primary authorizers and with
other human services agencies in the community. There is serious dissension
within the agency and a high level of negativity and interpersonal hostility.
There is also a high level of mistrust of management and very low staff morale.
It is difficult for you to tell who is contributing to the negativity and
turmoil and who is just reacting to it. The agency environment is characterized
by substantial chaos and unproductive office politics. Similarly, the agencys
external relationships with stakeholders are confused and tentative. It would
be nice to have a few weeks to get to know everyone and to familiarize yourself
with the environment but there are serious pressures both internally and from
external stakeholders, including important authorizers, to straighten out
this mess. You need to quickly pick people for your Leadership Team and get started. Who do you select for your
Leadership Team and how do you decide who to select?
Five small human services
agencies are being merged into one multi-service agency. The five small
agencies have served the community for many years and each has a solid
reputation for service quality and community involvement. None of the agencies
or their staffs are happy about the merger but at least their Boards know it is
necessary due to current economic realities. The clients of the separate
agencies are very unhappy and there have been a couple of community gatherings
to vocally protest the merger. The theme has generally been, Its okay for them but not for our agency!
This sentiment is shared by most of the staff members of the five agencies and
by many of the stakeholders of those agencies. You are hired as a consultant to
the steering committee charged to oversee the merger. The committee is made up
of the five Chairs of the separate agencies. They want to form a Leadership
Team to focus on improving the internal environments of each of the five
agencies, increase acceptance of the merger within the agencies and in the
wider community, consolidate the support of the various authorizing entities
currently supporting the five agencies, and reassure the community about the uninterrupted
availability of all current services. How will you recommend they go about
forming this Team; who should they select for the Team; and what criteria
should they use when selecting particular people? As an aside, how do you
think the Team should go about choosing its leadership once the Team is formed?