Ramifications of first- and second-rate people

Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2003

In a small community, folks in charge are under the so-called magnifying glass nearly on a daily bases. In our little town we have gone through some changes in a couple of major organizations.

Kadashan by Bertrand J. Adams Sr.

Our village ANSCA corporation has undergone a transformation in leadership that has caused major concern among the shareholders. During a shareholder meeting on Nov. 23, 2002, two new board members were elected. This caused a change, also, in the selection of the president of the corporation. Many shareholders feel that the shift will make no difference because the corporation has been on a downhill trend since the early 1990s. Of course, leadership from the board level will depend on how management will carry forth the goals and objectives, but I understand there is discontent among the board about how the new president will be able to function properly without absolute control over all of the subsidiaries. This has divided the board. The board, over the past many years, has been divided on nearly every issue brought before them. They proclaim there is a minority and a majority and because of this division they are unable to move whatever agenda they may have forward. This is a for-profit business, and it should be run like a business - not like a political entity. In my opinion how the leadership brings the issues together for the better remains to be seen. Shareholders are discontent and are circulating a recall petition. How far this goes remains to be seen.

On another issue we have a divided community over the apparent resignation of a popular school principal. Rumor has it that the superintendent and the principal were at odds about a drug and alcohol zero-tolerance policy regarding the suspension of two students who were allegedly caught smoking pot on the school grounds. In this case, the principal was intending to carry out the full condition of the policy whereby the athlete was to sit out a 10-day period from practicing in a sport after the end of the suspension. It is alleged that the superintendent took charge of the incident and waived the 10-day portion of the policy so one student could participate in the sport.

One issue led to another to a point where the Classified and Unclassified staff in the school held a meeting. A vote was taken and there was an overwhelming support for the principal. Lack of confidence in the superintendent's performance was likewise overwhelming.

I always felt if one were in a hiring and firing position that if he or she was a first-rate person, he or she would hire first-rate people. This holds true with any entity whether it be governmental, a for-profit, non-profit, board or commission organization. Of course, you always want your business or company to be run smoothly and because you do I would think it would be necessary to follow that charge. If it is a for-profit you'll want to see it generate a profit. A non-profit or governmental entity provides services, and so you want to be certain that the best services are provided for your stakeholders. Outstanding administrators are the key to successes in any well-run organization.

I'm sure we have seen good and bad companies come and go. A company could have a lot of money in the bank, but if bad management is involved, that company is doomed unless management is changed for the better. About 50,000 new business start up in America each year. Half of those businesses will fail. Eighty percent of the new companies fail because of imperfect management.

Second-rate people always hire third-rate people. The reason is that second-rate people invariably thrive on power and control. Power and control is good only if you delegate it to the proper people, but if one keeps it to themselves, troublesome things happen.

It's really not that difficult to find able people these days. It is, however, the duty of high-quality leaders to find and hire them.

Kadashan is the Tlingit name of Bertrand J. Adams Sr., who lives in Yakutat.

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