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Making Adjustments: The Art of Decision Making

Hillary Anaya

Hillary Anaya

Recently, the Emerging Leaders of Mobile were given the task to receive a performance critique. The goal was to find a skill that needs improvement and to gain motivation to strengthen it.

I consider myself lucky, because I couldn’t have better bosses. While for some, asking for a performance critique can be intimidating, I have a welcoming work environment for this sort of thing. This is great because this activity was my idea, and if anyone HAD to do it, it was me.

One of my character traits is that I tend to get annoyed when I have to make adjustments. For example, when I receive incomplete submissions on a deadline day, I get a little irritated. I don’t mean I throw a full-blown temper tantrum, but I do tend to complain. I have always been aware that I do this, but I never really considered changing.

Recently, I was on the receiving end. I missed a deadline and had to get an extension. With the combination of advice from my bosses and being on the other side, the resolution was clear as day.

Mistakenly, I assumed my job as an administrator was to make sure the guidelines are ALWAYS followed. But I have been wisely advised that when working with people, especially in the nonprofit realm, rules sometimes need to bend so we can better serve our community.

And for me, and my exasperated self, I think that means, instead of being reactive about these unexpected adjustments, I should expect them and be proactive about a solution. And I’ll add, to try to do this without whining. I’m starting to realize that while the documents we make may be black and white, the processes in following the guidelines are grey.

As administrators, we create logistics to organize our programs and we rely on these to coordinate them; yet, there is always going to be something that throws a wrench in the works.

Does that mean we turn people away because they didn’t sign the agreement when they turned it in? Do we bend the rules because we work in a nonprofit and we serve the community? Well, it depends. There is no right decision every time.

When we become too inflexible, we can hurt our community. On the other hand, when we become too flexible, our policies can become too casual.

As aspiring leaders, we must learn when to adjust, to make the necessary changes to ensure the arts happen for our community. After all, serving the community is what we do.

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