The only reason to be deputy is to use it as a stepping stone to be a Director. Every ambitious deputy, and all deputies are ambitious, seeks higher office but strives not to be seen to be actively perusing the post because above all else deputies are required to be loyal to their directors.
Every deputy see the mistakes their director makes, knows they would never make such mistakes, would never become so out of touch with their own staff or so badly misjudge the mood of members, be so careless with partners trust or take for granted the loyalty of colleagues. Should the director leave or be forced out the deputy is ready to act up. Not to apply for the permanent post would be seen as lacking ambition or as signal that they were planning to go elsewhere so lacking loyalty to the organisation. Of course they are never going to be offered the post because it is assumed there must be better candidates out there. Maybe if they can deliver the delayed restructuring, get the budget back on course, sacrifice management posts in the name of efficiency and offer up more cuts than were called as a demonstrate their corporate credentials they have a chance, they just need the time. Their motivation is simply a desire to serve during these uncertain times.
They will have to overcome the mistrust of colleagues who have noted that the tradition of providing a united front to members has been sacrificed to further one’s own career. The chief executive will doubt their loyalty and the treasurer will question their integrity. No one will be surprised that the new director focuses on tactics over strategy, is anxious about what people think and say about them and fears "others" are plotting their down fall. Partner agencies are of course not interested in someone acting up as Director because they know they rarely get the permanent post.
This is why a deputy who becomes a director is happy to show their commitment to cutting management costs by doing away with the deputy’s post. Now all they have to worry about are those ambitious assistant directors!
Blair McPherson former Director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk