Secret CEO: Board Troubles

Q: “I am new to the CEO post and I am struggling with the officers. They seem to treat me as an operational manager of the services, rebuffing my attempts to do long term planning or strategy work as they say this is for them to do. Have I got the wrong role, or should I be approaching this in a different or particular way?”

A: “We had something similar come up here a year or so ago, which we solved by getting a facilitator in to do a Board away day that looked at the different roles of CEO and SMT, Lay Trustees, Student Trustees and Sabbs. Once everyone was clear about their part in the project, lots of tension disappeared”

A: “In my experience things like this are never what they seem, and in fact stem, from other feelings or sources of disempowerment. Was there any history of tension between managers and officers in the past, or has there been a key incident in recent months that has caused a problem? It sounds like it may be worth focussing on the relationships required to make strategy effective before you launch into a full scale strategy exercise.”

A: “I wish this was a problem I had. It’s all I can do to get any interest from my officers in the long term. I suppose the instinct will be to worry, but I would be enthusiastic- gathering and giving shape to their ideas with you as the facilitator.”

Next Time:
“The Vice Chancellor seems to have hit it off very badly with this year’s new Preasident at ther welcome lunch, and I’m worried that this will impact on our wider relationship and funding for the year ahead. Should we try and get round this as it’s only an 11 month problem, or tackle it head on?”

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