Executive Directors and Stress

Executive Directors and Stress are Friendly Foes

One of the greatest enemies of Executive Directors is stress but it can be friendly.  Why?  Because Stress is manageable through good organization practices.

If an executive director recognizes that their office systems may be working against them, then at least one area of stress is eliminated.  Often, individuals are well organized but those well-organized people cannot organize systems and people to work for them on the job.  

Whether Acknowledged or Not

How often have I accepted an interim or a new position only to find that the office systems and operations are disastrous time wasters.  Why couldn't things have been better structured?  Because not everyone knows how nor recognizes there is a problem.

The office should function well no matter who is at work or not.  That's how effective the processes, procedures and systems should work.  Generally, that is not the case.  When one or two people are not at work, those present are left to scramble.  Once that happens, then work backs up.  And soon, the backup piles up.

Where should an executive director begin this process? 

Filing system.  The filing system - both paper and electronic - need to match and everyone needs to use it the same way - everyone - including the executive director.  Documentation needs to exist which accompanies the filing system as a reference to make sure that everyone is filing similar items in the right places.  

Some may have a filing system they think works until they go to some else's work station to find something and discover that the individual has a totally different idea about how to file.  They may also discover password-protected files.  So everyone is stumped.  They can't access the pieces of knowledge they require.  

What do you do about it? 

Get a filing system in place.  How?  Just put one in place.  If you need help, you can access this course (just click on the word course to take you there).  Then, once you have one in place and documented, enforce it.  How?  Do regular checks by sitting down at everyone's work station and test whether people are compliant.  If not, then it's time to correct it before that person disappears for personal or professional reasons.

Being very well-organized in systems, processes and procedures is a foundational key to reducing stress and getting more done.

Lorraine Arams
On Contract Only

 

 

 

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