TCNAA Business Meeting
May 4, 2019
An up and coming young executive was selected to be CEO of a company that was having financial difficulties. On his first day he was surprised to find attached to his desk a letter from the former CEO. The letter informed him that there were three numbered envelopes in his center desk drawer, and that, when times were rough and the board was disgruntled, he would find helpful advice in each envelope. About six months into the job the new CEO was indeed in trouble and, remembering the letter, he opened the first envelope. The note inside said “Blame your predecessor. “ The CEO announced to everyone that the current problems were related to policies and processes implemented by the former CEO. It worked. He was given breathing room to continue. Less than a year later he was again in trouble and again he consulted the envelopes. The second one said simply “Reorganize”. So, he changed his management team, created a few new positions and announced that his new team was in place to implement his plans. Again, the pressure subsided. Six months later he was again in trouble so he opened the third envelope, which said “Prepare three envelopes for your successor.”
I will admit that there have been times in the past few months when I would have benefited from three envelopes. I might even have skipped the first two and gone directly to the third. But during those times I’ve remembered, or been reminded by my wife, that I am here because of a desire to serve Talladega College and to participate in the growth and stability of the alumni association. That is why I agreed to become vice president when Dr. Joe Lee resigned, putting me into this position with the resignation of Dr. Cain. Eugene did not leave any envelopes, and there was no need. First of all, this administration will not blame its predecessor. Rather we remind you that it was the prior president who took a leap of faith and eliminated the annual raffle as our major fund raiser, deciding to rely on the voluntary contributions of our alumni community. He also oversaw the revamping and deploying of our new website. Likely, there will be some reorganization in the association. But changes will be in response to the strategic plan he introduced in late 2017 and early 2018. You should expect to see some revisions announced following the conclusion of this weekend’s meetings.
The sentiment of the three envelopes has not been a part of the TCNAA leadership transitions and I don’t anticipate that it ever will be. That doesn’t mean that there is no pressure from you, our constituents, or that there are no performance expectations on the president. Our response to those times of pressure, unrest, division, or confusion will be driven by what is best, in our opinion, for the organization and for the college. We don’t need the three envelopes. But there are three things that are essential if we are to be successful—they are 1) Your commitment to the organization, 2) your input and 3) your participation at the local and national level. The one thing that I can promise you is that we will be responsive.