SALISBURY MANAGEMENT IS NOT OUR CENTRAL OFFICE
by Paul Volosov, Ph.D., Founder and President Salisbury Management
Many years ago, shortly after I became the executive director of Growth Horizons, Inc., I visited the corporate offices of one of our largest competitors in the state of Pennsylvania. The offices were quite impressive with expensive furniture and decorations and marble floors. I had to go through several offices just to gain the privilege of waiting to see my counterpart in his large and well-protected corner executive office. He was dressed in an expensive suit with shoes that cost more, a lot more, than my entire outfit. I am sure that he thought that I was impressed. In fact, I was impressed, but not in the way that he thought. All of the trappings that the other executive director displayed were exactly what I did NOT want as the leader of the organization that I had started.
Before I became the leader of Growth Horizons, I had been a teacher and a school psychologist. I had worked hands-on as a consultant for group homes that provided a place to live for former long-term residents of Pennhurst State School and Hospital and other institutions. My specialty was in working with individuals who had the most serious and complex behavioral problems. I knew that solving the problems that these individuals and their care givers experienced required me to be ready for anything. A suit and tie were not the most appropriate attire under those circumstances.
Even after I became a supervisor of other behavioral consultants and eventually the executive director and finally the president of multiple companies, I understood that the real action is in the field, in the classroom, in the home, in the clinic, where people with exceptional problems actually live and receive the supports they need. People’s lives become better because of what happens one-on-one and in small groups in real environments. What happens in a corporate office may be important, but it is not central to what the organization does. Supporting people is central; managing those supports is not.
The management office of any social service or special education agency can only do good by facilitating and supporting what happens in real life out in the field. People who work directly with the people we serve are our main purveyors of excellence. The people in the central office can help by supporting that operational excellence. For the most part, this involves being as unobtrusive – as invisible – as possible to make the work in the field as easy as possible. The function of Salisbury Management is secondary to and supportive of operational excellence.
Operational excellence is central to our mission. Salisbury Management supports that operational excellence.