The case, “Greenhill Community Center”, depicted the dilemmas and crises that the new Executive Director, Leslie, had encountered after she got accepted as the new Executive Director of the Greenhill Community Center. She had an MBA degree, and she personally thought that she had enough experience in each area to manage all directors and staffs by using all she had learned from school. However, one year after she worked at Greenhill, she started felt frustrated and hopeless.
Problems & ChallengesLeslie herselfLack of understanding current Greenhill situations.
When Leslie hired by the trustees, she did not know and did not understand Greenhill’s current situations. She just jumped right in and did what she felt was right for the center without gathering enough information.
Having a stratum in her mind won’t lead the company to successShe felt that the trustees are at a policymaking level and that they should be making decisions without feeling pushed by staffs because they have the rights to do so, the highest stratum among the organization. Leslie also felt that she didn’t have to answer to staff with the issues that between Leslie and boards because of the difference in stratum level.
Supports who supports LeslieEven with same ideas politically, it did not mean that Leslie had to talk a lot with Brain about program development. It made me feel like Leslie only supported who supported her.
When Leslie begun the processes for moving Greenhill, trustees were only agreed to have extra hour to one regular board meeting instead of a day-long retreat. The United Way had done a management assessment of Greenhill that’s a tool for Leslie to assess the organization, but the trustees saw it as criticism. In the end, Leslie still used the planning process that she proposed, but she felt she was forcing the board into such planning process.
Personnel policyShe made the personnel policy herself. Even though she did meet with all the Program Directors, she did not feel their concerns were the main issue (especially the part-time, full-time issue). She thought that she made the whole policy consistent for everyone and unlike the old policy where job descriptions did not exist or were made up by Program Directors; she came up with all descriptions for all programs, and also standardized everything. Hence, she did not change anything from her designed policy. In Nov 1, she invited all directors to the sub-committee of the board meeting, so that they would not feel excluded, to review the changed policies. However, the meeting had turned to a fight between Leslie and Brian because of the part-time / full-time issue. The trustees, in the end, asked all Program Directors leave. Leslie did not think it was a trustee-level issue, but she did not discuss such issue with Program Directors before meeting with trustees. This problem made Program Directors disrespected Leslie and trustees.
Intra-staff conflicts (space problem)Late 1990, trustees decided to implement toddler program that required additional space. Many Program Directors were arguing about the space because they did not want to share space with other program. Brian was the only one that agreed on sharing space with toddler program. However, it turned out that those music teachers felt compromised by sharing space with toddler program.
Allegation of Sexual AbuseOne of the day care workers sexually abused a three-year-old girl. Leslie wants to be present when Denise met with the accused staff, but Denise refused. While in the meeting, Leslie felt that Denise dominated the session that works did not really have a chance to openly discuss this issue. Hence, Leslie still did not know what had happened.
FundraisingThe fundraising efforts had not met half of the years’ financial goals. They took a look at the budget and they did not raise much grant or fundraising money.
Management SkillsProgram Directors were lack of management skills. Leslie were unable understand the problem because directors themselves couldn’t even explain the problems caused by their staffs.
DiversityLack of Racial diversityLeslie was not sure how committed they were. She was wondering do they know what would happen if we have other racial coming to the meeting? Staffs were more committed to the racial diversity than trustees. However, operationalizing it was another concern that Greenhill needed capable staffs to speak clients’ language. It was also hard to handle racial diversity in each program and its processes.
Multicultural training sessionThe quality was poor and some of the staffs even got defensive.
SolutionsLeslie herselfFit in with the organizationBy just reading the case, it seems to me that Leslie did not really fit in with the organization. She just wanted to show people what she’s capable of as an Executive Director by changing and deciding things that she felt needed to be changed. The first thing she should to do is trying to build relationships with everyone. Do not think we could build relationships with everyone right away. It needs time. Making changes would be bad ideas because Leslie is not using her credibility to make changes; she’s using her role power to do so. Here is what Michael Auzenne and Mark Horstman said from their streaming media article, “The First Rule for New Managers”, “Don’t try new things. Don’t be different. Don’t try to prove you are you.
Be quiet, keep your head down, and certainly walk around and talk to people. Don’t try to impress anybody to become part of the organization. At some point after, people would then star felling comfortable with you. Then it should probably be the time to make changes.” The advice from them is so important that we, as human beings, always want to make changes because we all think that we could make it better; however, it’s not always the case. They also mentioned that “the more role power you rely on, the more you would be seen as lack of credibility”. Once that happens, we will have tough time earning people’s trusts.
Be friendly, pretending there’s no hierarchy between staff and directors
The best way to earn staffs’ trusts is to talk, discuss with them about any ideas we have. Don’t always leave matters behind if we think it’s not the issue. Take the example of inviting all Program Directors to the board meeting and fighting with Brian in front of everyone. We should negotiate with Brian first and then invite him to the meeting. As a result, there would be no problem when presenting the policy to boards. If we always leave things behind if there’s seems no issues, the result of that will be damaging the relationship between employees.
Building relationship with directors does not mean if we have go relationship with A, we would help a more on its program development. We should treat everyone equally and according to the goals, we focus on a specific side more.
Allegation of Sexual AbuseBy solving sexual harassment problems happened between staffs or other people like children as the case described, establishing a sexual harassment policy is necessary. After policy is established, we need to communicate the policy regularly and also train our employees. The last step will be investigating and taking action when complaints are voiced. In this case, the problem is that even Leslie did not know what really happened because it was Denise host the abuse session, but workers did not have the chance discuss the issue openly. This problem also lead to the communication problem between directors that I will mention in the communication section.The other solution is that Leslie provides a staff claiming channel for staffs to send comments to Leslie directly with anonymous names so it ensures staffs’ “safety” at the same time.
CommunicationThis is probably the most general, common problem among all industries even it’s nowadays. The best way to solve problems is to communicate, to talk. In this case, the reason why they had communication problem was because they didn’t have the same goals. This organization makes me feel like each Program Director was running its own program and that’s it. They didn’t have the same goals among the whole organization.
A.Spacing problem: they should sit down and discuss all the pros and cons while putting toddler program to their programs, and choose the one that’s best for the company.
B.Planning process: Reaching the same objectives is also the most important factor here. If Leslie really wants to run her planning process, she might have to persuade the boards so that everyone is aiming the same goals. The reason why she felt like forcing the boards to do this planning process was there were not enough communication between her and the boards.
C.Personnel Policy: The reason why Leslie made Brain embarrassed in front of boards while meeting was she did not want to talk about the issue Brain brought before the meeting. She thought that was just a tiny issue that could be solved later; however, she was wrong. What she needs to do is communicate with Brian first, solve the problems, reach the same goal, and then bring the personnel policy to the boards to review.
Management SkillsGreenhill organization seems no management skills among Program Directors. They only do things that would only benefited for their own programs. Leslie should hire a expert that teach all Program Directors how to being a manager. The most key thing is managing their own people whenever problems occur. They should be able to find out the problems and solutions before speak to Leslie. Program Directors should understand that they are responsible for their own staffs. If problems occur, it’s the Program Directors should hold the responsibility. Hiding mistakes won’t achieve better performance for the organization. Being able to manage own staffs and communicate with them, have meeting regularly would lead to company success.
FundraisingFrom our textbook, we knew that having a successful fundraising is the same as having a successful management. Fundraising is just like a classic management practice which consists of five activities: analysis, planning, execution, control, and evaluation. The case depicted that Greenhill did not meet its expected revenue. I think the problem should be its process. It did not have a formal process for fundraising. Leslie needed to treat the fundraising activity as the management process.
1.Analysis: we set the purpose and also ask questions like “why do we need money”, “how much do we need”.
2.Planning: we start planning after we finally analyzed all the situations and questions. Planning should be careful because too much planning leads inaction and too little planning impedes success. In this step, the plan we prepared can be changed to respond to other unanticipated situations.
3.Execution: this means to carry out, implement the plan prepared from previous step. One important thing from this step is that it requires a high level of mutual respect and a firm commitment from all participants to their common success.
4.Control: the step that monitors all the tasks. This process has to be monitored on a daily basis by diplomatically asserting the leadership to ensure that tasks are accomplished and the fundraising plan is fulfilled.
5.Evaluation: this steps is used to assess what worked well and why as it is to determine how to improve. In other word, we assess the plan we come up and evaluate to see what part of the plan need to change to achieve better performance next time.
DiversityThe book, “Human Resource management 11th Ed by Mathis & Jackson, 2006” makes a very good context that “Diversity can contribute to business success, but organizations need to learn how to maximize its benefits and minimize the problems. Good intentions alone do not guarantee good results in this area.” This was the challenge Leslie was worry about. Boards wanted to reach out to Asian community, and staffs were even more committed to racial diversity, but they did not really think about the down effects that may occurred from racial diversity. First thing that Leslie had to do is to make sure that the top management is really committed to diversity. From the case, Leslie was not sure if top management was really committed. Nevertheless, she had to discuss, communicate to really measure boards’ commitment. The diversity results must be measured, and management accountability for achieving these results must be emphasized and rewarded. There are three components of diversity training.
1.Legal awareness: helps participants to know what are the legal “do’s and don’ts”2.Cultural awareness: this is probably the most important component for Greenhill since they want to reach to different cultures to have the ability to earn more money. This training helps all participants to see and accept the differences in people with widely varying cultural backgrounds.
3.Sensitivity training: the aim here is to “sensitize” people to the differences among them and how their words and behaviors are seen by others.
The very last point is to focus on behaviors because it would hold the most promise for making diversity training more effective.
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Robert D. M. & John H. J. (2005). Human Resource Management (11nd ed.). Willard, Ohio: R.R Donnelly