Two months ago, I was on my way to a reunion weekend at New College of Florida in Sarasota. I am currently on the college’s foundation board, and a trip to Sarasota was long overdue. I made the reunion a quarterly goal. Perfect timing! As the director of programs and research at HERS, we were in between the February and March delivery of the HERS Leadership Institute, our signature leadership program for women leaders in higher education. My team was moving forward as planned. It was the right time for my vacation. Furthermore, I needed time away. Well being, particularly self-care, is essential as a team leader. I was glad to take the time off and committed to not working. In the past, my team felt that I wasn’t sincere when I would encourage them to truly leave the work during their vacations, because they knew I never did. I was determined to be a good example. [Read more…]
Little did I know that, for me, improvement came in the form of parenting.
I became a parent nine years ago. And as many new parents do, I read a lot on how to be a better parent. Aside from the practical tips of how to install a car seat, I read books on how to get children on a path of healthy sleeping, how to manage toddlers and their raw emotions, how to raise confident children, and this list goes on and on.
At the same time, in my professional life, I found myself again building a development team. I was also reading books on leadership, some of it was a review from my corporate years in HR, but some of it new. [Read more…]
One of our passions at Fundraising Leadership is helping nonprofit leaders to bring a coach-like approach to their organizations. And of course we like to walk our talk in this regard. This means we focus on building trust, setting goals, measuring progress, being curious, and creating a culture of accountability within our own team.
So as our Q2 came to a close, the Fundraising Leadership Team gathered together for a mid-year review.
We structured our conversation around our OGSM (Objectives, Goals, Strategies and Metrics) tool that we created at the beginning of our fiscal year. Simply put an OGSM provides clear goals and identifies the strategic choices to achieve them. [Read more…]
Gossip–The practice of sharing information about people who are not present in a “casual or unconstrained conversation [that] typically involves details not confirmed as being true.”
We are all familiar with it. Every organization seems to be infused with it, and many leaders in the nonprofit world with whom I work believe it’s a good thing. They mistakenly believe that it helps grease the wheels of communication and that it will somehow serve as a source of valuable information that enables the organization to function smoothly.
Two is always better than one when it comes to things like puppies or vacations or pieces of cake (maybe even glasses of wine) but what about fundraisers in the same role at the same time? This was the situation for me when I started a new role in an arts organization after spending three years at an academic institution. I was excited to return to being a full-time major gift fundraiser with great opportunities in front of me at a transitional time in the organization. One unexpected element was learning that it would, in fact, be two of us starting the same senior role, two weeks apart. After a brief pause, and a request to meet my double, my surprise became delight and things began to fall into place. [Read more…]
The Fundraising Leadership team (David, Silvia, Michelle and I) have all completed the CTI Leadership program. This program rejects the top-down, one-dimensional leadership model and expands our definition of leadership.
This new model is grounded in the idea that everyone is a leader because “leaders are those who are responsible for their world.” [Read more…]
Fostering a culture of accountability within your team is a key skill and it aligns perfectly with the coach-like style of leadership. We have covered the topic of accountability in past posts “Creating a Culture of Accountability” and “A is For Accountability.”
The foundation of accountability lies in asking three questions:
What will you do? When will it be completed? How will you report back?
When you create a work culture that embraces accountability you need to ensure that it is held without judgement. This creates an environment where everyone can learn from success and failure. [Read more…]
Human resource professionals and hiring managers often ask me if there are certain qualities to look for when hiring prospective new successful nonprofit leaders that are likely to make them extraordinarily successful in their leadership roles. While there are no absolutes, Janice Cunning and I identified nine essential qualities through our personal experience in the nonprofit world as well as our work training and coaching nonprofit professionals that make nonprofit executives extraordinary. We found that there are a few characteristics that if carefully screened for can yield excellent new-hire results. [Read more…]
In his 2002 business classic, The Five Dysfunction of a Team, Patrick Lencioni describes “Avoidance of Accountability” as one of the core behaviors that teams exhibit when they are dysfunctional. In Pat’s words: “In the context of teamwork…it refers specifically to the [un]willingness of team members to call their peers on performance or behaviors that might hurt the team.” [Read more…]
Earlier this week I was watching The Life Sized City, a documentary highlighting citizen-led urban renewal. My own city of Toronto was the featured location. I was inspired by the story of a group of people who decided the city needed more public seating. They created #sitTO and unfolded simple Ikea chairs and tables around Toronto.