This week there was a lively discussion regarding CEO evals and the leadership that administers them. Every once in awhile I can focus on the negative and remind myself that there is an opposite side to any situation; the positive. I gave some thought about why I believed that David K. Moeller, broker of Redbud Realty & Associates, in Edmond OK, was such an outstanding association president. I did not ask his permission to write about him or use his picture, but knowing Dave I am sure he won’t mind.
- Dave had extensive experience in running a large multi-unit for profit business. He knew spreadsheets, statistics, sales, accounting and probably most important, how to empower his staff. He knew the association was in fact, a business, a corporation, and he used his experience and insight from another field to add to the association.
- Dave never “took” from the association. No fancy meals, no unnecessary trips, no perks. He took very seriously that he was the steward of the members’ money.
- Dave was an phenomenal public spokesperson. The media loved him! The year he was president the association received a lot of press because Dave understood what they wanted and was an adroit and entertaining spokesman.
- Dave came into the officer position with a passion and a mission. He was going to focus dollars on high impact projects that met the needs of many rather then pet projects that impacted very few. For example, although many presidents in the past view their installation as a coronation ceremony (wanting nothing but the best) Dave slashed the installation budget and had a modest ceremony which was a packed house.
- It was so EASY for me to be his AE because his mission was so clear and so focused.
- Dave understood that he managed the volunteers- I managed staff. When we had an issue with a volunteer, although certainly uncomfortable, he dealt with expediently and then it was done. No going over it 1000 times- it was confidential and it was over.
- Dave never surprised me at a board meeting. He came in an hour early and we went over every item on the agenda for a second time- just to ensure nothing had changed. I was never put on the spot. If something came up unexpected he would glance at me to gauge my reaction. He had no compunction about calling a recess to look into an issue before answering.
- Dave understood we were a leadership TEAM. When a member came to him with an issue his response ,”I need to discuss this with Dawn and then I will get back to you”. He never Lone-Rangered it which meant I was never in that awkward position of having to correct him or go against what may have been said to a member.
- His communication skills were outstanding. Every week- one day per week- we went to a lunch at a local deli (timed before exec and BoD meetings). Getting me out of the office was a surefire way to open my mind up. He never demanded, never came with a list for me to do, never insisted I take notes (although I actually learned so much about managing effectively from him) and he would always open with “Is there anything I can do for you?” Every time. He understood my job was difficult and wanted to make sure the volunteer leadership was supporting me and my efforts.
- He inspired trust. I often would talk over areas where I was having a problem or a concern. I never felt that if I talked about a problem I was being judged. I was never fearful that he would question my abilities because he made it clear from the get-go, we were a team. He understood the difficulties of the AE job (see number #1) and we solved problems together without judgment.
I have been fortunate that I have worked for a lot of really great people! I chose to focus not on personality but on the skill set of being a president when I chose Dave as my exemplar.
As I synthesize what I have wrote it gives me a list of presidential qualities: Educated, Experienced, Public Speaker, Passionate, Mission-driven, Team Player, Role Clarifier, Inspires Trust, Committed, Communicator.