An article in the 2/8/06 edition of the New Jersey Star-Ledger by Willa J. Conrad reports that after more than eight months searching, the New Jersey Symphony Board is having trouble identifying a finalist for the position of president & CEO. The article goes on to report that the organization believes one of the contributing factors to this problem is the lack of a well thought out, long term strategic plan…
Last week, I published an extensive examination of the long term strategic plan designed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and concluded that one of the critical components for determining whether or not the plan will be successful is the capability of the executive leadership. In Dallas’ case, the strategic plan was designed in large part by their president & CEO, so it’s easy to understand why the same individual would have more of a vested interest in the plan than if it was something foisted upon him without any input.
As such, I was initially puzzled by the NJSO’s position that in order to attract an acceptable candidate they need to design a strategic plan. My reaction was that any executive capable of sincerely leading the organization out of its financial hole would want to put together their own plan. Developing a plan and hiring someone to “implement” it would tend to attract candidates who fall into the operation oriented category of executive managers. These folks tend to make excellent general managers but not such great executive leaders. More often that not, they turn into overpaid “yes-men” who aren’t worth the Lexus’ they drive.
The article does report that the organization realized that candidates may have been scared off due to the severity of their financial situation as well as a lack of cohesive vision among internal executive managers. If developing a strategic plan serves to unite their vision then I could see how using it might help attract a capable executive leader. At the same time, it could also spark some fierce infighting among current managers and the last think the NJSO needs right now are more holes in executive leadership positions.