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New and Emerging Leaders

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New and Emerging Leaders

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Designed for executive directors in the position for less than three years, and for EDD staff on track to become executive
directors, this workshop provided participants with insights into becoming an effective RDO leader.

Designed for executive directors in the position for less than three years, and for EDD staff on track to become executive
directors, this workshop provided participants with insights into becoming an effective RDO leader.


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New and Emerging Leaders

  1. 1. NEW & EMERGING LEADERS NADO Annual Training Conference October 2022 Pittsburg, PA
  2. 2. About the Presenter Steve Etcher Manager, Location Strategies Career Highlights > 20+ years RDO Director > NADO Board of Directors > 10 years Economic Development and Site Selection Specialties > Community & Economic Development > Organization Management and Consulting About MarksNelson setcher@marksnelsoncpa.com
  3. 3. The Executive Chair
  4. 4. Path to Position Executive Director Internal Staff Candidate Outside the Region with Prior RDO Experience Candidate from the Region No RDO Experience Candidate Outside the Region No RDO Experience
  5. 5. Misty Crosby Buckeye Hills Regional Council Laura Lewis- Marchino Region 9 EDD of Southwest CO Trailblazers
  6. 6. Group Discussion 1. What is the top priority for the organization? 2. What is the first thing you want to accomplish? 3. What do you want your/organization reputation to be?(whose perception is important) Seeing the Big Picture
  8. 8. Potential Issues Facing New Leadership  Following a legend  Inherit a strong board  Inherit sound financial condition  Have a trained and competent team  Strong and compatible organizational culture  Growth  High morale and enthusiasm  Following a loser  Disengaged board  Financial crisis  Lack of skills, talent, and team effort  Dysfunctional organization  Decline  Low morale, low energy in organization Positive Negative No one else cares as much about your organization as you, and no one else has as much to gain or lose as you as the executive director.
  9. 9. Common Challenges for New Directors 1. Managing staff that you were previously peers with 2. Working with board members that see you as a staff person 3. Understanding organizational finances and recordkeeping 4. Seeing the big picture 5. Understanding the region and its players 6. Understanding the organizational culture and shaping the culture to fit your style 7. Grasping the breadth of programs and services 8. Unaccustomed to staff and practices 9. Need to “hit the ground running”
  10. 10. Keys for Overcoming the Legacy Create your own brand, reputation and culture Listen, learn and then change what needs to change Focus on the organization mission, and you and your staff’s strength
  11. 11. Keys to Success  RELATIONSHIPS--constantly build new and reaffirm existing  RESPONSIBILITY--do what you say, when you say, with a high quality product  RESULTS—Achievements, not intentions pave the road to success  RESPECT--you must rise above differences to work together. You must give it to get it  REPUTATION--Aggressively work to manage public perception.  REALITY--is term limits, turnover, and elections.  RUN--to clients, agencies and legislators—Don’t wait for them to come to you.  RESOURCE-Become an indispensable resource for local, state and federal partners,-- especially during an era of tight budgets and limited resources.
  12. 12. Group Discussion 1. The demands of the position can be overwhelming. What techniques and schedules do you use to maintain life balance? 2. How do you prioritize uninterrupted time to do “deep thinking” 3. How do you allocate time to spend with your leadership team & staff? Time Management
  13. 13. Putting First Things First Eisenhower Matrix Is it important? Is it urgent?
  14. 14. Group Discussion 1. How did you (are you) prepare for an RDO leadership position? 2. What are you doing to grow professionally? 3. Who do you turn to for guidance, accountability, and innovation? “Iron sharpens iron” Professional Development
  15. 15. Intentional Improvement In the next 30 days I will: to improve my ability as a leader to improve how my organization performs to encourage and enable staff/team members In the next 90 days I will: to improve my ability as a leader to improve how my organization performs to encourage and enable staff/team members In the coming year I will: to improve my ability as a leader to improve how my organization performs to encourage and enable staff/team members
  16. 16. Keys To Effective Organizational Leadership Need to think outside the box-offer fresh perspectives to chronic challenges, Allow innovation to fuel the organization Delegate to trusted and qualified staff Lead Projects-Avoid getting drug into the mire Surround yourself with people that are smarter than yourself, that complement your style of leadership, and offset your limitations Find a mentor Lead with humility Running and growing an agency requires high levels of energy and ambition— understand your need to re-energize Don’t forget to plan for your own organization Don’t forget to set goals for yourself You are paid to make recommendations and to lead, do not avoid this responsibility “The problem is not the problem. The problem is how you think about the problem. We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”
  17. 17. Principals of Leadership Know yourself and seek self-improvement Be technically proficient Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions Make sound and timely decisions Set the example Know your people and look out for their well being Keep your workers informed Develop a sense of responsibility in your workers Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished Train as a team, build comradery “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” -Theodore Roosevelt COMMON LEADERSHIP SHORTCOMINGS Lack of “big picture” focus Too detailed and process oriented Failure to recognize key product is intellect Complacency
  18. 18. Organizational Leadership  Know your strengths as Leader > Utilize these strengths to improve the organization  Recognize your shortcomings/weaknesses > Staff to compliment your strengths and strengthen your shortcomings  Develop a personal improvement plan  Create an organization plan and implement it > Include short and long term goals, measurements and timelines  Prioritize and maintain board member engagement > EDDs are experiencing high turnover in elected officials > Develop a process for orientation to the organization and create a sense of ownership  Share information, not data > Know and understand the board preferences on the “right amount” of information  Performance evaluation is vital > Create a process for fair evaluation of you, your organization and your staff > Benchmark and evaluate results related to your strategic action plan Leading an organization is like riding a bike… you need to keep moving forward to keep your balance
  19. 19. Attributes of an Effective Regional Leader High octane, high energy, self starter Great communicator Creative entrepreneur Visionary Consensus builder and motivator Open minded Results oriented Decision maker Knowledgeable Politically Savvy Trustworthy
  20. 20. Group Discussion 1. What has been the most difficult staffing concern you have dealt with? 2. What strategies have you deployed to motivate, inspire, and install confidence with staff? 3. What do you need out of the staff that is not occurring? Staffing
  21. 21. Group Discussion 1. What was your biggest intimidation working with your board? 2. What has been your biggest challenge, and how are you addressing it? 3. What value does your board provide to you? To your organization? Successful, impactful organizations share a common feature—they have a board of directors that is engaged, understands their role, and contributes their talents and expertise to the success of the organization Board Management
  22. 22. Leading with a Board of Directors  Have regularly scheduled meetings that encourage participation  Have a structured meeting format to make the most use of their time and provide value to the members  Have an agenda and stick to it. Stay within the time constraints set up for the meeting  Utilize committees as appropriate to streamline the policy debate, make recommendations, and broaden board member engagement.  Create Ownership by the Board—as appropriate with your enabling legislation. Constantly reinforce their ownership versus ownership by the Executive Director  Ask them their opinions  Allow them to take ownership in ideas.  Provide value to them through information, and project results.  Filter and interpret data to provide meaningful information.  Board education is critical and must be constant.  Immediately educate and include newly elected officials and appointed board members
  23. 23. Group Discussion 1. What information do you review to understand the financial condition and performance? 2. How are you ensuring checks and balances and financial integrity? 3. What has been the most difficult element regarding the organization’s finances Financial Management
  24. 24. Revenue Strategies Sell More Existing Services to Existing Clients Sell Existing Services to New Clients Sell New Products to Existing Clients Sell New Products to New Clients Increase Value of Services
  26. 26. Director Performance Evaluation 1. Function of the Board 2. Should be done at least annually 3. Identify assessment criteria 4. Have the Director complete a self assessment 5. Have the Board (or Committee) complete an assessment 6. Review assessment with Board (or Committee) and Director 7. Inform full board at the conclusion if using a committee 8. Create goals for future-make the review forward looking 27
  27. 27. Director Evaluation System 9 Competencies for Evaluation 1. Organizational management- running the day-to day operations of the organization 2. Leadership-region, state, nation—recognized as a leader 3. Financial management-developing a budget, developing and maintaining a system of checks and balances, creating financial plan, and generating revenues to fulfill the plan 4. Program management—overseeing programs, particularly related to compliance and schedules—review monitoring reports and audits 5. Personnel management—finding, training, motivating, and supervising staff 6. External Relationships—developing relationships with key state and federal partners 7. Internal Relationships—developing relationships with communities, community leaders, partner organizations, etc 8. Visioning and Planning—casting the vision for what the organization pursuing, and developing and implementing strategies to realize the vision 9. Pursuit of Mission and Purpose—maintaining focus on the core issues the organization is pursuing while encouraging innovation 28
  28. 28. Attributes Evaluated Demonstrates integrity Demonstrates ability to understand complex situations and instructions Demonstrates ability to lead a team Demonstrates ability to make good judgments Demonstrates a willingness to accept responsibility Demonstrates initiative and self motivation Demonstrates the ability to perform under pressure Demonstrates the ability to prioritize and make the best use of time Demonstrates punctuality Demonstrates a proper attitude and a good frame of mind Demonstrates the ability to be an innovator and thought leader Demonstrates maturity (in relation to age and experience) Maintains a positive attitude Is conscientious about the way customers are dealt with Is well respected in the region, state, and nation Is conscientious about appearance-Dresses appropriately for the job Possesses good oral communication skills Possesses good written communication skills 29
  30. 30. Organization Performance Evaluation “What gets measured gets done. What gets measured and fed back gets done well. What gets rewarded gets repeated.”  Measure RESULTS not activity  Identify the key ELEMENTS to measure  Establish BASELINE for historical comparison  Identify COMPETITION to measure against  Evaluate and REPORT progress, impact, and value  RAISE the bar once the goals have been met. 31
  31. 31. FINAL WORDS
  32. 32. What I Wish I Knew When I Started 1. Burnout is real 2. Arrogance achieves little, humility achieves much 3. It’s never wrong to do the right thing 4. Be open and transparent in all that you do. 5. Communication is critical 6. Don’t pursue self interests 7. Surround yourself with people smarter than yourself 8. Learn as much as you can from others 9. It’s OK to be lucky. Luck = Opportunity x Preparedness Don’t write so that you can be understood, write so that you can’t be misunderstood -President William Taft
  33. 33. MarksNelsonCPA.com Contact Us 816.743.7700 setcher@marksnelsoncpa.com 1310 E 104th St. Suite 300 Kansas City, MO 64131
  34. 34. EXTRA
  35. 35. Relevance • Trusted Advisor • Progress • Foresight $$$ • Planner • Performance • Insight $$ • Vendor • Passivity • Hindsight $ Perspective Purpose Role
  36. 36. Creating Organization Focus Strategic Action Plan Luck=Opportunity + Preparedness Vision • Where do we want to be in the next 10 -20 years? SWOT Analysis • Where are we now? Goals • Broadly stated, where do we want to go? Objectives • Specifically what will we do? Strategies • How do we get there? Measures • How are we doing? • What can we do better?

Notes de l'éditeur

  •  About our Presenters Today
    Our technical expert is Mike Marsh
    Mike is a partner in the firm and has 35-years of experience in real estate and tax credits
    Prior to joining MarksNelson, Mike served as managing partner of his accounting firm, Marsh & Company. Additionally, he worked for Arthur Anderson and Grant Thornton for over 14 years.

    I am Steve Etcher –I am a manager in the Location Strategies practice specializing in economic development and location strategies.
    I use my 30 years of experience in community and economic development to help our clients and communities grow.
  • There are a number of influences that can make your transition or introduction as a NEW DIRECTOR interesting.
    There may be positive things that have happened that have elevated the organization or there may have been negative event that have diminished the capacity of the organization or tarnished its image.
    The reality is you are following someone as the leader of the organization and someone will follow you.
    Regardless of the past and inherited reputation of the organization I would encourage you, challenge you, implore you to make your own positive imprint on the organization and your region.
    Who you are following will determine the types of challenges before you. In this line of work there are always challenges, the only variation is what that challenge may be.
    If you are following a legend you have big shoes to fill. If this is the case, the framework and team is probably already in place, you just need to guide and direct it and put your personal touch on it. The challenge will likely be how to keep the machine working while imprinting your style.
    If you are following a loser, the challenge is probably more focused on how to rebuild the team, rebuild trust and develop systems that allow you to have a positive influence on the organization and region.
    You may have inherited a strong and engaged board of directors and the challenge is to keep them engaged in spite of change. To instill confidence that the organization will continue to move forward under your supervision.
    Your inherited board may be completely disengaged, and when they hired you they figured their responsibility was complete. The challenge will be to build a board driven organization, garnering support from the right kind of board members and to get them to provide input, perspective and feedback. Don’t let your board skirt their responsibilities. Ask them how they measure success and then develop reporting systems to communicate success with them.
    You may have stepped into an organization that is in strong financial position. As much as this is desired, and it is, there are challenges that you will face—to keep the building upon prior success, to use financial condition and position to wisely advance the region.
    If you stepped into a financial mess, you have my sympathy. However, don’t be that director that says things were a mess when I got here, and they still are and pin it on prior leadership. Take the opportunity to slowly and steadily build a financial base through performance and stewardship. Every little success will be huge, so start with little wins first.
    The staff you now direct is likely not your own, they are not likely who you would have hired. That doesn’t mean they aren’t of great value. They likely understand the region and organizational culture, and they posses much of the institutional knowledge that you will need. If they have the right skills and are competent you can build on that.
    You may have inherited a staff that is just collecting a paycheck and don’t have the skills, competencies or drive that you need to have a successful organization. If so, my recommendation is to work closely with the staff to assess their attributes to see where and how they fit into the future of the organization. They may just need redirected and better managed. Don’t go in and immediately start letting people go. They may have the skills you need, they just may be reflecting the management
    As a result of prior leadership the organizational culture may be dynamic or it may be dysfunctional. As a new leader I would encourage you to embrace the culture if it is producing great results and slowly inject your influences. If it is dysfunctional, assess why and then SLOWLY and deliberately shape it to your style.
    The biggest mistake I see people make is trying to make too much change too quickly
    If the organization you are leading has been growing your priority will need to be understanding how it has been growing and nurture that growth.
    If is has been in decline, your priority will need to be understand why it is in decline, and then develop strategies to stop and then reverse the decline.
    If morale, enthusiasm and productivity is high, don’t rock the boat. If it is low then figure out strategies to build up morale, which will elevate enthusiasm and ultimately improve productivity.
    Again, if Positive, keep going forward and merge your personality and style into the organization.
    If negative, make timely and deliberate actions after you have taken time to conduct a proper assessment
  • If you are hired to lead the organization that you were part of as a staff or manager level, then the transition to directorship has its own unique set of challenges.
    The chiefest among the challenges will be relating to former staff, getting the board to recognize and respect your new role, broadening your vision to the big picture, and shaping the organizations culture.
    Leading the staff that you were previously part of or were managing can be difficult. My strongest advice is that you have to give respect to get respect. If you want your former colleagues to respect you as a leader you have to give them respect as well. Give every person the chance to prove their worth to you and then fairly evaluate their staff. Hold them accountable, but do more than that, bring them to a position where they desire to be accountable and contributing.
    A mistake I made when taking over is I couldn’t look past the performance I observed as their peer. I assumed they behaved that way when the boss was gone, was a reflection of themselves and not a reflection of the prior leader. I also thought that since the board saw how great I was going to be, they would too. I forgot that they also observed my performance as a staff person
    It can also be challenging to get your board members and local governments to view you as the leader instead of just that staff person. The best advice I can give in this regard, is nothing changes perspective faster than results and solid performance. Focus on getting the job done exceptionally well and they will start to see you in a different light.
    As a former staff turned director it is important that you take care of details, but not at the expense of casting the vision, and seeing the big picture. You need to delegate the details, and follow through and hold staff accountable, but if your focus is only on the details, it will be hard to lead and anticipate trends. You may be accustomed to completing the reports and mining the data, but as a leader you are called to do more.
    If hired from outside the organization and possibly outside the region, the challenges are just as difficult.
    You need to quickly get to know the region, its drivers, the players and leaders. You need to quickly identify your role in the region and adapt to the regions culture and values (example Wed night meetings are taboo).
    You also need to quickly understand the organization’s programs and purpose. Hopefully, you did your homework prior to taking the jobs. But once you are there, you need to get to know each program and staff person’s roles. You need to seek perspectives as to what the organization is doing, from outside the organization. Talk to staff, board, local governments, state and federal partners to get as much depth and breadth as you can on the region and organization.
    You also need to quickly understand organizational practices and slowly adjust them if necessary. Jeans day, professional attire, communication style, work hours and flexibility are just a few mole hills that can become mountains. It is important to slowly infuse your style to the organization but rapid change make change all that much harder.
    Things I did without deep thought or consideration that really annoyed staff was—changed office hours, professional attire if going to a meeting, no jeans days (eventually recanted after 10 years), no closed doors, office cleaning.(I hired this instead of making staff do it). I also failed to recognize the some board members had loyalty to staff that I was not high on, or worse they were related
    If new to the area and organization, I am sure you were brought in because you have so much to offer, however, first learn, observe, ponder then slowly turn the organization around. You don’t want to capsize because you turned things too quickly

    Relationships--constantly building new and reaffirming existing

    Responsibility--do what you say, when you say, with a high quality product

    Respect--Network of EDDs don’t all have to agree all the time, but you must rise above indifferences to work together.

    Reputation--“Bad apples” may exist in your state—work to prevent that from spoiling the entire “bushel”. Aggressively work to manage public perception.

    Reality--Constant education with agency leadership and legislators. The reality is term limits impact us all, turnover in officials, and election changes make your environment very fluid therefore you must constantly educate agency leadership and legislators on who you are, what you do, and why you do it.

    RUN--GO to agencies and legislators—Don’t wait for them to come to you. Because the reality is they won’t

    Resource-Become an extension or delivery agent for State agencies—especially during an era of tight budgets and limited resources. Many of your states are facing financial challenges. State agencies are struggling with tight budgets and limited resources. Use this as an opportunity to become an extension or delivery agent for State agencies.
  • So as we look at how to help you lead your organization for the future I would like to share a few more keys to leadership that I believe will help you hit your mark:
    Allow innovation to fuel the organization. Innovation is the counterbalance to the mundane and bureaucracy that can engulf you and your organization
    think outside the box and offer fresh perspectives to chronic challenges
    Delegate to trusted and qualified staff—you can’t and shouldn’t do it all yourself. Leading can mean delegating and holding others accountable for action
    Avoid getting drug into the mire of projects and politics--lead projects and stay neutral
    Surround yourself with people that are smarter than yourself—for me that is not too difficult, and complement your leadership style and offset your limitations
    Find a mentor –someone that understands what you do, what you are dealing with, and can provide you with wise counsel. Someone you respect
    Lead with humility—recognize the difference between humility and meekness
    Meekness is being submissive
    Humility is taking a modest view of ones own importance—(even though you may have every right and qualification to be arrogant)
    Remember: Nobody likes a headline grabber--People love being part of an effort that is more about WE than ME
    Running and growing an agency requires high levels of energy and ambition—find it, understand your need to re-energize
    Don’t forget to plan for your own organization--set goals
    Don’t forget to set goals for yourself
    You are paid to make recommendations and to lead, do not avoid this responsibility by focusing only on the administrative elements of the position
  • Know yourself and seek self-improvement
    Be technically proficient
    Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions
    Make sound and timely decisions
    Set the example
    Know your people and look out for their well being
    Keep your workers informed
    Develop a sense of responsibility in your workers
    Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished
    Train as a team
    Use the full capabilities of your organization
  • Years ago I put together a list of the top traits of an effective Executive Director. I would like to share them with you today, and I would challenge you to reflect on these traits to see if you really have what it takes to lead a regional organization.
    And if not, if you identify shortcomings, I would encourage you to identify ways to address these shortcoming and develop the skill necessary to become an effective and impactful director.
    You need to be a High octane, high energy, self starter—it takes a lot of energy to successfully lead a regional organization
    You need to be a Great communicator—one on one and in group settings
    You need to be Creative entrepreneur—thinks outside the box, YET is a calculated risk taker. Entrepreneurial spirit to benefit region and constituents—not self.
    Visionary You need the ability to see and understand micro and macro perspective of issues—and what is possible and then manage and direct resources accordingly.
    You need to be a Consensus builder and motivator—It is one thing to get people to agree, it is another to get them to act in concert.
    You need to be Open minded—considers and values others opinions, willing to accept constructive criticism, willing to transfer ownership, credit, praise to collective effort versus self.
    You need to be Results oriented—delivers, does what says will be done, follows through on large and small issues, and sees things through to completion.
    Decision Maker
    Knowledgeable-need to have a basic understanding of complex issues facing communities—infrastructure, housing, economy, etc.
    Politically savvy—need to understand how government works and how to engage without being political.. Apolitical organizations
    And you must have wrap all these qualifiers with Personal integrity and trustworthiness
    So how do you measure up?
    I would encourage you to look at those qualifications that you may be lacking and work fervently to improve your leadership skills.
    The good news is that Leadership skills can be developed and improved. And I would encourage you as the director of EDD’s to constantly work on improving your leadership skills. Skills that will help your organization succeed now and in the future

    Two most important keys to effective leadership
    You must be trustworthy
    You must be able to communicate a vision of where the organization needs to go.

  • Creating revenue to support your regional organization is an element that likely consumes an inordinate amount of your time and attention.

    Often times I see regional organizations approaching their organizational revenue from an “entitlement” perspective. Relying on historic revenue sources (which unfortunately are diminishing or at best not keeping pace with costs)

    Such as being reliant on:
    Same level of membership dues or taxes from the communities in the region
    Funding from the state legislature
    Funding from EDA for Development Districts
    Funding from State planning and development agencies

    I would encourage you to rethink your revenue strategy. I would invite you to think a bit more entrepreneurial about your services and revenue.

    Four strategies for increasing revenues:
    Sell more existing services/products to your existing clients
    Sell your existing services/products to new clients
    Sell new products/services to your existing clients
    Sell new products/services to new clients

    I see 3 broad areas of revenue enhancement strategies for regional development organizations to consider (Amplify—Diversify—Unify) (PP)
  • First let’s consider the perspective you provide, or maybe more importantly, the perspective you are ASKED to provide
    Is your perspective HINDSIGHT. Looking back and making sense of the data and trends. Observing what has happened.
    Is your perspective INSIGHT. Looking at the data and understanding the current trends and providing direction based on what IS happening
    Or Is your perspective FORESIGHT. Looking at the potential of what is likely and helping direct what WILL happen.

    Another way to evaluate your ranking on this pyramid is to look at the focus of WHAT you do-your PURPOSE
    Is your focus on Passivity, or compliance on reporting what has happened.
    Is your focus on Performance, executing a plan to achieve anticipated results
    Or is your focus on Progress, moving the needle, raising the bar, moving the organization beyond what has happened and what will likely happen, to WHAT we want to happen.

    Or evaluate your role with your customers (clients, customers, constituents, funders, etc). Ask yourself what is the role that I fill, or my organization fills.
    Are you merely a vendor—providing a service for a prescribed fee
    Are you a planner—helping your customers plan and anticipate for the future
    Or Are you a trusted advisor—helping your “customers” realize their full potential and what is possible

    The role you play has a great deal to say about the relevance of you and your organization.

    The higher on the pyramid you are, the more impact you are making, the more value you are providing, and the more dollars you can derive from your services