How to become an Athletics Director - Part 10 - Test your theories on stage
As a Director of Athletics you are in a highly public position where your comments are interpreted and scrutinized. Preparing for this increased level of public attention isn't easy, but there are some steps you can take to be as well prepared as possible. The easiest way is to test your theories and opinions "on stage."
You should identify opportunities for people outside your department – at your institution, in your conference, at the national level – to see your work and the value you bring to the table. While doing this you are also going to be in situations where you have to present your views in a more public way than you encounter in your regular day-to-day position. Going public with your views allows you to establish your own personal brand and this brand helps differentiate you from many other worthy candidates.
My personal recommendation about a great way to do this is to write - for trade publications, for a blog - yours or guest write on someone else’s, or tweet (a 160 character limit challenges you to be interesting. If you choose to do it, do it about things that matter to your profession, not about your cat or vacation). There is nothing wrong with being provocative. But aiming for sensationalism with each posting isn't a target to pursue.
When you do these things, you open yourself up to criticism and dialogue and discussion. So take the risk of putting yourself out there, risk the possibility of failure or criticism that comes with public statements. This is a low risk but meaningful way to prepare you for the 24/7 public aspect of being an AD.
I was invited to speak last year at the NACDA Convention in Orlando, Florida and present a talk entitled "Moving from the business office to the athletic director's chair." Since that talk a number of people have asked me for a copy of my comments and notes. Since these requests keep coming, I have created a multi-part series that recaps and expands on the NACDA talk. I am far from an expert, but I hope my experiences make this series valuable and thought provoking.