Success By Association - March/April 2017 - 4

president'smessage
AENC OFFICERS

Understanding Leadership

W

hen I entered the State
Treasurer's office in January
2001 as the new chief of
staff to a newly-elected State
Treasurer, I was confronted with many of the
typical challenges you face being part of a
management transition.
The agency's employees, accustomed to
the norms of a long-standing organizational
culture (the previous Treasurer had served for
24 years), were anxious and uncertain about
what changes to their existing way of doing
business there would be.
Some long-tenured senior managers decided
to retire with the transition. New division
directors put together new leadership teams-
this meant many folks had a new boss, or a
different boss, or maybe even a boss who
used to be their co-worker!
Concern over those changes was mixed with
hope the new Treasurer would advocate
for better salaries and fuller staffing
compliments, but there were questions as to
whether he could compel the legislature to
agree to increased personnel and enhanced
compensation levels.
The mood of the department's employees was
a mix of uncertainty, unease, and anxiety. We
needed something that clearly showed that
the new leadership valued and appreciated
the employees within the agency, and needed
them to buy into a new vision for how we
would serve the people of North Carolina.
It's just true that an organization-no matter
how capable the leadership-can only be as
good as its employees will allow it to be. A
negative vibe left unaddressed diverts energy
in a way that tends to preclude folks from
being able to do their job effectively and
efficiently.
I called my father for advice.
At that point he was just recently retired from
a 40-year management career in the wood
products business. Based on the fullness of
experiences from a professional life spent
supervising the work of others, I asked what
he'd suggest we do to clearly convey to the
entire department their welfare and wellbeing were important to the new leadership.
4

success || march/april 2017

Joe Stewart, President
NC FreeEnterprise Foundation, Inc.
Susan Giver Nelson, CMP, CAE
President-Elect
SeaPerch Program
Lisa Ward, CAE
Secretary/Treasurer
NC Dental Society

"Got funds for office furniture?", he asked.
Yes, I said.
Create a system for measuring the current
condition of every employee's chair, he
told me, and starting from the worst of
the worst, irrespective of position or title,
replace their office chairs to the extent your
budget will allow.
He concluded with this gem: an employee
trapped in an old, worn out, uncomfortable
chair five days a week for 8 hours a day
has a hard time not being pessimistic and
unhappy. Fix that one situation within
their work life (without them having to ask
for it) and you might just get them to see
the benefit of the other changes you are
suggesting.
We got the money lined up, had our HR folks
devise a chair-rating system, and launched
the effort. There were some folks who wanted
a new chair that didn't get one (their chair
was fine, but hey a new chair is a new chair,
right?), but my recollection is we were able to
replace all of the truly terrible chairs.
Morale lifted almost immediately as
employees had real, tangible evidence
the new administration had their interests
in mind.
Dad knew what he was talking about.
Sometimes a simple gesture goes a long way
to convince the folks who work for you that
you're the real deal.
The lesson here is that when you are
thinking about how best to manage people
always start with the recognition that it's
people you are managing-with talents,
abilities, experience and capacity also come
wants, needs, desires and fear. It's hard
to get the best of the former if you're not
tending to the latter.
After all, at the end of the day no one can
put forward their best effort when they have
a spring poking them in the posterior every
time they sit down at their desk. z

JOE STEWART
2016-2017 AENC President

Alan Skipper, CAE, CMP
Immediate Past President
NC Medical Society
DIRECTORS
Amy McConkey
NC Beverage Association
Laura Nakoneczny, CAE, IOM
NC Press Association
Dan Schline
Carolinas Credit Union League
Jerel Noel, CAE
FirstPoint Management Resources
Daniel Wilson, CAE
NC Rural Water Association
Andra Zarins
National Association of REALTORS®
AFFILIATE DIRECTORS
David Piscorik, CPA
Stancil & Co.
Beverly Stewart
Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen CVB
Connie Thames
Paragon Bank
Rob Wheeler
Skyline Exhibits & Events
BUSINESS OFFICE
434 Fayetteville Street, Ste 1850
Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: 919.848.8255
Fax: 919.848.8525
E-mail: office@aencnet.org
EDITOR
Jovita Mask
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jovita@aencnet.org by 1st of preceding
month. AENC reserves the right to edit
for style, clarity, length, and to meet
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AENC policies or views.
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please contact Madi McDougald
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©2017 Association Executives of North Carolina


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Success By Association - March/April 2017

President’s Message
Event Calendar
Change, One Person at a Time
What I Learned as an Employment Attorney: Non-Legal Advice to Get You Out of Legal Hot Water
Is Your Hiring Filter in the Way?
Freedom Comes From Rules
Cost/Benefit of an Organization Retreat
Polish Up Your Confict-of-Interest Policy
Legislative Reception a Success!
Getting the Leadership Basics Right
Member Updates
Should They Stay or Should They Go? (With Apologies to the Clash)
Young Leader Profile
Advertiser Index
Buyers’ Guide
Advertiser Showcase
Executive Director’s Message
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - cover1
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - cover2
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - 3
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - President’s Message
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - Event Calendar
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - 6
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - Change, One Person at a Time
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - What I Learned as an Employment Attorney: Non-Legal Advice to Get You Out of Legal Hot Water
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - 9
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - Is Your Hiring Filter in the Way?
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - Freedom Comes From Rules
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - Cost/Benefit of an Organization Retreat
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - 13
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - Polish Up Your Confict-of-Interest Policy
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - 15
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - Legislative Reception a Success!
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - 17
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - 18
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - 19
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - Getting the Leadership Basics Right
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - 21
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - Member Updates
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - 23
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - Should They Stay or Should They Go? (With Apologies to the Clash)
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - 25
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - Young Leader Profile
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - Advertiser Index
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - Buyers’ Guide
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - Advertiser Showcase
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - Executive Director’s Message
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - cover3
Success By Association - March/April 2017 - cover4
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