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July 14, 2005

Office Culture

My employer's CEO tendered his resignation a few years (yes, years) ago, and our board is beginning an executive search this year, although his last day on the job will be April 30, 2007. Earlier this week, the chair of our board of directors sat down with the full staff to tell us what the process for filling the position will be and to find out what we wanted in a CEO.

Is this unheard of, or what?

At my first association job, I returned from a vacation to discover that the board had fired the CEO (Hey, the boss got fired while you were gone. Oh, and welcome back!). An interim CEO was hired, but there was no staff input. Nor did there need to be. Boards are free to hire and fire CEOs as they see fit.

I've got to hand it to this board, our chairman, our staff and our CEO. We have all contributed to this transparent, inclusive culture that employees everywhere dream about. The chairman even asked the staff to call him on his cell phone if they wanted to talk to him privately. And I have no doubt he would take anyone's call.

Our staff takes ownership of this culture too, taking initiative and responsibility for our actions. The board recognizes what a great staff they have, and they realize that it's a result of the way he manages us. So even with major changes at the top on the way, I don't really have much anxiety about it.

This is a random, rambling post. Honestly, this concept is so foreign to me, I'm having trouble organizing my thoughts. Sorry.


Shawn Z. Lea said...

I'm just reading this on Friday night a week later - so I understand association overload. But your story made me think back to when I was the creative director at an advertising agency and came back from three months' maternity leave to find that our biggest client had unexpectedly walked the week before. The mood was kind of like a mausoleum. Thankfully, the agency survived and all of my former co-workers and still-friends didn't lose their jobs. At least you're in a good situation it sounds.

Ben said...

It could possibly be the best office culture in the world.