I was once told that “the job is the interruptions” – to look at an interruption not as something that detracts from my work but rather is the work. But there are two types of interruptions that have gotten my special attention over the years.
One type happens often, perhaps twice a week when averaged over the course of a year. It happens when the assistant directors of the Michigan High School Athletic Association are asked a novel Handbook question, one of first impression in their experience, and there is a difference of opinion among their colleagues as to the correct answer.
I expect to be involved in answering such questions; and sometimes I determine that the question needs MHSAA Executive Committee attention – for ultimately under the MHSAA Constitution, it is the Executive Committee’s responsibility to interpret what is not clear in Handbook Regulations and Interpretations.
The other type of interruption happens not twice a week but about twice a year, when a legal challenge confronts the MHSAA. It has been our practice to keep other staff focused on the daily business of the MHSAA, helping to make tournaments and other programs operate without distraction; while the executive director (as well as the associate director in more recent years) deals with litigation, which is usually a three- to six-month sprint but can also be a three- to six-year marathon.
I expect to insulate other staff from these diversions that can suck time and energy out of a forward-looking staff.
We anticipate that every day will bring us questions that were not on that day’s to-do list. We try to treat those interruptions as an important part of our work.