Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Other Items"

Over the past day and a half, I have been at a planning retreat for an organization which I serve as a Board member. The agenda for the first day consisted mostly of the standard Board Meeting agenda and part one of the yearly planning program. Pretty much the norm. We get through the entire Board meeting and come to the last item on the agenda - Other Items. In past Board meetings, this item usually didn't require much attention. But this year was different.

Need To Know Basis
The Chairman starts off "--- would like to read a statement". Immediately my stomach tightened and the happiness I had just felt because we were on the last agenda item quickly vanished. The President/CEO of the organization was retiring. It was clear that about half of the people in the room already knew this information, while the other half of us had no clue. My first reaction was one of frustration because I wasn't one of the those "in the circle of trust". Why was I kept in the dark?

As he was reading his statement, my mind drifted to the thought of how I would handle communicating my resignation to my Board of Directors, if I were to leave. I went through what the proper channels of communications should be: Chairman, Executive Committee and the rest of the Board of Directors. After thinking this through, I realized that he did exactly that. The ones who knew ahead of time were the Board members who make up the inner circle of the Board (they don't call it Executive Committee for some reason). It was also clear that he had discussed this with the Chairman and they had planned how to execute the announcement. In reviewing the agenda again after the meeting, I think waiting until the last item was the best place for the announcement. That way we reviewed and acted upon all the business items that needed addressed and weren't distracted about the CEO leaving.

Sometimes putting yourself in anothers shoes can change your way of looking at a situation. It certainly did for me.

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