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ONEplace

Didn't see that coming

It’s not uncommon to be surprised by people and events. When you least expect it, a situation arises, a problem occurs, or a discussion ensues that throws you for a loop. It’s not something you’ve ever dealt with before, and you’re not sure what to make of it…what to do about it.

You’re not alone.

Everyone – even a seasoned executive – encounters a baffling challenge from time to time. Try as we might, we can’t seem to figure it out. We need to get some distance, some perspective on the matter.

That’s why ONEplace offers direct assistance services.

We’re prepared to listen, inquire, and help you come to grips with your new challenge or concern. Depending on the nature of the concern, we may have suggestions, resources, or recommendations of actions to take or people to consult.

Don’t let a festering issue hold you back. We’re here to be at your service. 

Best,

Thom


Let your efforts be known

Are you one of the many area residents who engage unique, innovative, even wild efforts making Kalamazoo a great place live and work? We believe you need a forum to be heard, so we’re launching Kalamazoo Connect.

Kalamazoo Public Library and ONEplace unite to spotlight dynamic community building efforts in Greater Kalamazoo. Each quarter, Kalamazoo Connect features three short presentations on innovative, engaging endeavors followed by an opportunity for informal discussions and networking. Locally-sourced refreshments will be served following the presentations.

Interested? Your presentation will be given in a TED-talk style – open-stage speaking with optional use of notecards. Your presentation must be a minimum of 5 minutes and cannot exceed 10 minutes. You may use audio-visuals if you wish. (For examples, visit www.ted.com.)

Here’s how you can tell Kalamazoo about your innovative, community building efforts.

1. Submit your entry by emailing your name, phone number, name of organization or business, and description of talk (approximately 100 words) to ONEplace@kpl.gov. Entries are due by 5pm on Friday, January 23

2. Applicants will be notified by Tuesday, January 27

3. Participate in a rehearsal of your talk during the week of Feb 2 (by appointment)

4. Accepted applicants must attend and speak at the Kalamazoo Connect event on Wednesday, February 11, 5-6:30 pm

If you have any questions, please contact ONEplace 269-553-7910 or ONEplace@kpl.gov.

Best,

Thom


Management Track gains traction

ONEplace’s workshop attendance jumped 74% during the last six months of 2014 (compared to same time last year). The huge increase was driven in large part by our new Management Track.

Launched in September 2014, our Management Track includes workshops targeted to managers, executive staff and board members. Events address critical issues, skill development and processes related to delegation, communication, decision making, board development, project management, coaching and more.

Management skills develop continually throughout one’s career. Everyone, regardless of experience level, benefits from refreshing their understanding and assessing their skills in these areas.

Upcoming Management Track workshops include:

Jan 20 – 3 Steps to Improve your Board (Better Board Series)

Jan 22 – Project Management

Jan 27 – Stronger Boards: Recruitment, Onboarding & Retention (Better Board Series)

Feb 17 – Board Membership 101

Feb 25 – Emergency Action Planning

Mar 17 – Coaching for Breakthrough Performance

All events are free of charge and open to nonprofit staff, board members, and volunteers. Registration is required.


Take the Lead

At ONEplace, this marks the midpoint of our three-year plan (July 2013 – June 2016). Leadership development is job ONE stands as one of three pillars of this plan. Here’s an update on this pillar’s progress to date and direction for the coming year.

This past fall, we arrived at our working definition of leadership: taking full responsibility and ownership of your role(s); listening and learning from others, and; teaching and sharing with others. We’re expanding our intensive experience offerings to facilitate development of this type of leadership. 

The ONEplace Nonprofit Leadership Academy offers an intensive development experience for those in supervisory roles at medium to large organizations. Our Peer Learning Groups provide this experience for managers, supervisors, and directors of small to medium organizations. Later this winter/spring, we’ll introduce a retreat experience suitable for anyone wishing to explore their leadership capacity.

We’re also in the midst of pilot testing coaching services for new executive directors within their first year of service. Expect a formalized program to roll out later this year.

Also, expect things to change…hopefully for the better. This continues to be a work in progress for us as we seek to provide an array of events and experiences to meet your and your organization’s leadership development needs.


Our top events in 2014

In the spirit of year-end reflections, we decided to share our Top Ten lists. Recognizing that people vote with their attendance and with their post-session evaluations, we did two lists. Therefore, based upon your evaluations and attendance, here are your top workshops from 2014 (notice ties in both lists).

By evaluation

1. Improve Your Short Writing (4/29/14) 99%

1. Improvising Management (Management Track – 10/30/14) 99%

1. Find Solutions – Solve Problems (Management Track – 11/4/14) 99%

4. How much should a Website Cost (3/6/14) 98%

5. How to Win Grants (4/17/14) 97%

6. Manage by Improvisation (1/24/14) 96%

6. Better Mail Appeals (3/26/14) 96%

6. Google Analytics (4/10/14) 96%

6. Grant Research Tools (6/10/14) 96%

6. Attaining Sustainability (8/26/14) 96%

6. Grant Writing Basics (12/2/14) 96%

6. Improve Your Decision Making (Management Track – 12/4/14) 96%

By attendance

1. Community Alignment (Leadership Series – 10/16/14) 44

2. Communicating for Results (Supervision Series 2 – 9/22/14) 39

3. Job of a Manager (Supervision Series 1 – 9/15/14) 37

4. Building Relationships (Supervision Series 3 – 9/29/14) 36

4. Managing Change (Supervision Series 4 – 10/6/14) 36

6. Leading & Empowering (Supervision Series 5 – 10/13/14) 35

7. Building a Cohesive Team (8/27/14) 34

8. Grant Writing Basics (3/18/14) 32

9. Grant Writing Basics (9/11/14) 29

10. Donor Recognition (Fundraising Series 3 – 10/23/14) 28

Thank you for all you do to support, encourage and enrich our community. You’re amazing people doing amazing work.

All the best for 2015!

Thom

* Management Track and Series designations were introduced in September


Hitting Pause

With New Year’s Eve just hours away, I again find myself at an intersection. In addition to being the calendar year end, it’s also the second quarter close of our fiscal year. And, as a holiday week, it’s a time of less (or different) activity.

I like these times. It’s an opportunity to look back and look forward, to evaluate and adjust, to celebrate and to anticipate.

In his book, Traction, Gino Wickman draws upon the work of Patrick Lencioni and others and recommends that top management gather off-site every 90 days to review the previous quarter and finalize priorities for the coming quarter. Why every 90 days? He says, “The 90-day idea stems from a natural phenomenon – that human beings stumble, get off track, and lose focus roughly every 90 days.”

Wickman cites examples of this phenomenon at work, and I could add a few examples of my own. While it’s easy to casually nod in agreement, I shudder at his observation that human beings “lose focus roughly every 90 days,” because…

…we cannot afford to lose focus.

Lost focus wastes time and energy, dilutes the purpose of the organization, confuses funders and donors, frustrates staff and volunteers, and eventually leads to all sorts of crises. As leaders of our teams, departments, and organizations, maintaining focus is at the top of our list of responsibilities.

So, take some time – a half- or full-day – every quarter to hit the Pause button and keep yourself and your team on track. It will save you time, increase your service quality, and promote job satisfaction.

Best,

Thom


Leggo my ego

I enjoy basketball. While some individual players stand out, it’s the performance of the team that decides the game: working together, anticipating each other’s moves, and sharing the spotlight. Sure it takes practice, but it takes more than practice.

It takes trust.

On a team, trust means…

 

  • You hold one another accountable without assigning blame
  • You willingly give and receive extra efforts without keeping track
  • Knowing that the team has your back, you take risks without guilt
  • You communicate openly and directly with your teammates without fear

 

…and you do it all for your mission…for your cause.

Being on a team requires us to extend beyond ourselves. In our recent workshop on Mindfulness in the Workplace, Eric Nelson provided a compelling research- and case-based argument for mindfulness practice. The benefits were so varied and plentiful, I finally asked, “What’s the downside?” Without hesitation, he responded, “It challenges your identity.”

Mindfulness practice makes us face our assumptions and how they often differ from others’ assumptions. It chips away at our ego and helps us recognize how much we need each other to achieve better understanding as well as better performance. By letting go of our need to be right, we free ourselves to be correct. We free ourselves to trust.

I’ve written before on ways to build trust. Yet, these efforts falter when individuals stay wedded to their own assumptions and agendas. The more we understand ourselves and let go of our own egos, the more we open ourselves to trust our teammates. And that’s a step we must take on our own.

The ball is in your court.

Best,

Thom


You're welcome

I expect that every organization and business strives to be hospitable. We want staff, clients, visitors, supporters, and vendors to feel welcomed and comfortable in our place and at our events. Yet, even with best of intentions, we may run into times when we’re stumped.

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

Some situations may throw us for a loop. Many of us have faltered around language issues, physical challenges, cognitive disabilities, cultural misunderstandings and more.

We can take steps to prepare ourselves and our organizations to be hospitable in these situations: glean your staff’s wisdom by initiating the discussion; identify gaps in understanding and then research and share information at staff meetings; and take advantage of workshops offered by area agencies.

This week, ONEplace welcomes Allison Hammond (Arcadia Institute) to explore Supporting People with Disabilities in your Organization. Allison will help us discover how we can successfully include people with disabilities as participants, volunteers and employees. Plus she will highlight resources to assess and support our ongoing efforts.

Most of us desire an open and welcoming community. It starts with each of us creating that environment right where we are.

Best,

Thom


Board training increases impact

According to Building the Governance Partnership, “Board members often don’t know what they don’t know.” As the seat of authority in most nonprofits, it’s critical that board members clearly understand what’s expected of them and how to fulfill those expectations.

At ONEplace, our goal is to make sure we’re focusing our limited time and energy on areas of highest impact. Since embarking on basic board training, we’re finding this to be one of those high impact areas. 

Initially, we simply responded to what was requested. This usually included a basic overview of board responsibilities with a little extra time spent on one or two items (e.g., fundraising or being a good ambassador). Having now met with over 30 organizations and conducted 16 onsite training events, we’ve developed a broader-based approach.

Every quarter we offer Board Membership 101. This late afternoon workshop provides board members and prospective board members with an overview of board responsibilities. It also serves as an encouragement to nonprofits to supplement this experience with their own, more specific, training and orientation.

Onsite training events (commonly at a board meeting) tailor the content to the needs of the specific board. These events are also much more participative. Providing your board with a common training experience greatly increases retention and application as reminders pop up at almost every subsequent meeting.

The program rounds out with two additional services. First, we continue to provide a place where board and staff may discuss new concerns and challenges and gather helpful resources. And second, we provide facilitation services to help boards discuss difficult or sensitive issues.

For more information, please contact us: oneplace@kpl.gov or 269-553-7910.


Just ONEthing - Dec 2014

Last month, we hosted a Chronicle of Philanthropy video titled, Building Long-term Ties with Young Donors. It discussed data from the Millennial Alumni Report and how it related to nurturing the loyalty of young donors. The video noted the strong philanthropic tendency of Millennials in volunteering (86% would volunteer) as well as donating (75% donate).

Enjoyable experiences with the organization, an opportunity to give back, and the ability to designate donations to a specific program motivate Millennial philanthropy. Millennials also want to see results. 

Social media (especially Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) is tops in providing Millennials with stories, behind the scenes info, and successes. To maximize reach, the presenters suggest creating an Online Ambassador Program. The program engages volunteers in generating Shares and Retweets, and it’s considered a “must” for any online campaign.

Email continues to be the primary communication channel for calls to action and appeals. Emails should be very short with bold highlights and a soft ask (e.g., donate button).

The bottom line for Millennials (as for older donors) is to ask. Many reported that they didn’t give simply because they hadn’t been asked.