This is my first week as the Executive Director of the Headwaters Foundation for Justice, so I thought it would be a good time to write about managing a job promotion. I have moved from a front-line position where I have a responsibility for a specific task that moves the organization's mission forward (grant review) to a position where my job is to figure out what our strategic direction is and make sure that my staff has the resources and systems to support them in doing that work. I have always loved strategy work and have been preparing for the last month or so by learning as much as I can about the organization's operations and the landscape of the community foundation and social justice fields. What I have realized, now that the job has started, is that you have to mentally adjust into that role as well. Here's what I have been doing to manage this mental transition:
Set aside large chunks of time to do strategic thinking- I have found that there is a adrenalin high that I got from finishing a specific project (or a grant review) because it was complete and I could check it off of my to do list. Strategic thinking is never finished, so I have been breaking it into small areas that I am developing plans for.
Talk to others that have been in your shoes- There are lots of great philanthropic leaders in my community and nationally that have been amazing sources of advice and support. I am using these sources to learn more about how they managed the transition from front-line staff to strategic thinker.
See the forest through the trees- Being new on staff allows you the opportunity to see the organization with a fresh perspective. Those fresh eyes only last so long, so I have been writing down any trends or processes that jump out at me as areas that might need work in the future. Rome wasn't built in a day but it is important to have a long-term blueprint so you remember what needs to be fixed or created.
Do you have any advice on how I manage this job transition?