I asked for an armchair and they gave me a lamp shade

You successful make the case for additional resources but instead of the much needed arm chair the board gives you a decorative lamp shade. We are not talking about giving a new look to your old office but one chief executive's description of  how the board dealt with the need to invest in new services as well as make  deep cuts. 


You make the business case for closing all the authority's old people's homes and reinvesting in intensive domiciliary support services only for the board to agree to close half the homes leaving no money for reinvesting in new services because the savings will need to be spent bring the remaining homes up to standard. You make the case for investing in preventative services. You demonstration how these could be funded by an additional 2 percent of cuts. The board take your additional cuts but instead of releasing the money for reinvestment they use it to postpone making unpopular cuts elsewhere. 


It's about short term verses long term , it's about making the business case verses keeping voters happy, it's about the person you hired to  change things verses the person who wants to stay in power long enough to change things. It's the tension between officers and politicians, between business and politics, it's about how the chief executive and the leader manage this tension. Not surprisingly they sometimes fall out. There are stories about leaders and chief executives who no longer speak directly to each other communicating only by email . There are leaders who lose confidence in their chief executive and chief executives who don't trust their leaders . But if the chief executive asks for an arm chair and the leader presents them with a lampshade it usually indicates an office move is imminent. 


Blair McPherson former director of community services author and blogger 



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