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June 05, 2006

Association Executive in metaphor

A friend, formerly a CEO of an association, described the position of association CEO as being like the narrowest point between the two chambers of an hourglass. In one chamber are the volunteers. In the other chamber is the staff. In order for information, tasks, goals or anything else to pass between volunteers and staff, they have to pass through that narrow point. I'm elaborating here from my friend's original comments, but there's only a finite amount of stuff that can pass through there at any given time. The friction in that spot creates heat. The more stuff trying to get through creates more heat. And little progress gets made if the direction of the grains of sand through that narrow point is constantly reversing.

I think this analogy applies to senior association staff as well. These days, most senior staff have direct access to volunteers and board members who are working on projects and objectives. The senior staff is delegating projects and tasks to other staff within the organization. They are taking recommendations from teammates back to volunteers, and then reversing the process.

Not sure what to do exactly with this analogy, but I thought it was a good one.



CAEKris said...

"Like Sands Through the Hourglass, So Are the Days of Our Lives."

Ben said...

Hey, that's pretty funny!