News, comments, resources, and more for nonprofits.
“Two heads are better than one” (as long as they’re not banging against one another).
Better answers don’t come simply by having more people in the room. To ensure the synergy of many minds or multiple efforts, you need a process or guide, something that facilitates the act of “working together.”
Synergy is a theme that runs through much of our December programming.
Small adjustments to activity or perspective often make big differences in how well we work together. Consider taking a closer look at how you can synergize your efforts.
In a video I recently viewed, Diana Chapman Walsh, president emerita of Wellesley College, offers her five attributes of trustworthy leadership: question ourselves, develop and attend to solid partnerships, avoid the use of force except as a last resort, value differences not only as a source of respect but as a source of creative information, and create a community.
Certainly, others may vary their own trustworthy leadership list, but I find that in leadership, as in many other areas, it all comes down to relationships. The connections we build over the course of our careers make all the difference in our individual success as well as our organization’s impact.
Our quarterly Kalamazoo Nonprofit Connection – LIVE events were created as a venue for you to make and strengthen connections with your nonprofit colleagues. Along with its sibling, the Kalamazoo Nonprofit Connection LinkedIn group, they provide opportunities to meet, discuss, ask questions, share resources, and support one another.
I hope you’ll stop by the upcoming LIVE gathering on Wednesday, November 20. We’re here from 4:30 – 6 pm.
Every month, we learn much from the participants and presenters we meet at ONEplace. In Just ONEthing… we highlight an insight gained during the past month from our nonprofit community and its partners.
This months’ insight comes from Dann Sytsma and Brian Lam (aka, Improv Effects) who led our Manage by Improvisation workshop. Through a series of improv games and exercises we learned the power of:
- affirming what the other person says and then adding to it
- making strong choices in the moment
- having fun
One participant emailed us two days after the workshop to add to comments made on the evaluation. The participant wrote: “The improv practices we learned are highly applicable to my job, particularly to the collaborative aspects of the work I do.”
ONEplace offers the improv workshop again on January 23, 2014. Registrations open in late November.
A few weeks ago during my regular LinkedIn perusal, I came across Marilyn Hewson’s (CEO Lockheed Martin) article on building trust. A quick look piqued my interest, but I wondered if her clearly numbered five principles would be yet another example of off-the-shelf leader hoo-ha. They had that look about them.
Upon reading the article, I saw that her principles were not steps or techniques to be learned & implemented but depths of character to be developed – values, vision, honesty, and gratitude. Building trust is not so much a matter of strategy or tactic but a matter of being trustworthy.
Think of someone you’ve learned to trust. Why did you come to trust this person?
In many cases, trust directly descends from integrity. For me, a person’s integrity stems from the fact that they live an integrated life – what you see if what you get…there are no masks or veneers. It’s what Nan Russell calls authentically showing up. [read her article on trust in the workplace]
In short, building trust is, for the most part, not something you do but a consequence of who you are. We’ll explore this more in an upcoming workshop, Build Trust – Manage Conflict, on October 30.
Leadership development is becoming ONEplace’s cornerstone. Why this focus?
We’re targeting leadership development because of overwhelming evidence that leadership – both executive and non-executive – sits at the hub of effectiveness. People take their cues from the top. No major initiative ever succeeds without the leader’s support. And every unit – from task force to board – relies on effective leadership.
As a result, ONEplace will change over the next three years. Changes we’ve made to date include:
- Increased management/leadership workshops during the year
- Increased online information and fewer webinars
- Created environments for connecting with nonprofit colleagues online (LinkedIn group) and face-to-face (quarterly gatherings)
- Pilot testing small group leadership intensives
- Increased communication with you
As we endeavor to encourage and equip your long-term leadership development needs, we welcome and will solicit your feedback and suggestions. As always, our goal is your success.
Upcoming ONEplace Leadership Series workshops:
Lunch…coffee…a meeting…a walk. When we get together we have a reason. The activity creates a context and sets a tone for the interaction.
On August 14, ONEplace holds its second Kalamazoo Nonprofit Connection – LIVE gathering. The context is nonprofit and the tone is mutual support.
Sure, there will be snacks, but best of all, your nonprofit colleagues will be there – those who value referral networks, desire a deeper community connection, and want to accelerate their organization’s impact.
We all seek stronger ties to our colleagues and community. But one evening alone won’t do it. According to “The Real Purpose of Networking,” the most common mistake that individuals make after attending a networking event is not following up. So, put some time on your Aug 15 calendar for follow up.
Stronger collaborative networks open communications, save time, and make us all more effective. But, like most things of value, they require little bits of attention over a long period of time. So, take an hour or so on August 14 to invest in your future…and have a good time doing it.
Most of you are aware that ONEplace offers its programs and services at no cost to the participants. It’s all foundation funded to provide year-round professional development and assistance to the entire nonprofit sector.
Of course, there is a cost to you – your time. So, we strive to honor your time commitment to the best of our ability. In July we’re conducting some time experiments – that is, we’re trying new time slots for some of our events.
Previous surveys indicate a stronger preference for early in the day or later in the day. So, we have scheduled four events in new time slots:
July 17 Thank You Letters = Future Gifts at 9 – 10:30 am
July 24 Mission Driven & Vision Focused at 4 – 5:30 pm
July 25 Plan Your Year-End Fundraising at 9 – 10:30 am
July 31 How to Write Faster at 9 – 10:30 am
Further, we condensed a couple of webinars worth of info into a shorter, instructor-led workshop format and scheduled it at an early lunch hour: July 23 Great Short Writing at 11 am – 12 noon.
Finally, we continue to add more to our website (24/7 availability) from ONEpages to video instruction. And more to come!
We’ll continue work with you (face-to-face, via LinkedIn, via surveys) to accommodate your needs and schedules. As always, feel free to contact me with your suggestions, questions, and concerns.
Congratulations to the 2013 class of the ONEplace Nonprofit Leadership Academy!
The Academy included ten full-day sessions covering over 20 topics related to running a nonprofit organization. Each participant also engaged a mentor relationship with a current nonprofit executive director.
Instructors include many of Kalamazoo’s top consultants in nonprofit law, governance, human resources, cultural competence, program evaluation, fundraising, and communications. The experience also included occasional panel discussions with those working in the field.
The Academy class of 2013 includes:
Sonja Dean, Michigan LISC
Kara Haas, Kellogg Biological Station
Mark Hudgins, Heritage Community
Christine Jacobsen, Ministry with Community
Jennifer Johnson, Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes
Celine Keizer, Community Homeworks
Katie Marchal, Community Healing Centers
Jennifer Miller, Senior Services
Petra Morey, MRC Industries
Christine Murphy, Transformations Spirituality Center
Dallas Oberlee, WE Upjohn Institute/Michigan Works!
Brian Penny, Senior Services
Catherine Pinto, AACORN Farm
Keith Platte, Urban Alliance
Judith Rambow, Kalamazoo Public Library
Joan VanSickler, Buy Local Greater Kalamazoo
Jennifer Welles, Housing Resources, Inc
Dana White, Heritage Community
Launched in 2012, the ONEplace Nonprofit Leadership Academy addresses the need for developing nonprofit executive leadership as this sector anticipates upcoming Baby Boomer retirements. The Academy’s third session begins in January 2014. Application information will be available in September. More information is available at kpl.gov/ONEplace/ONLA.
I’ve read it yet again in another leadership book. This time the quote reads, “…no technique can substitute for face-to-face human interaction.”*
That’s why we scheduled the Kalamazoo Nonprofit Connection – LIVE event earlier this month, to provide an environment for us to connect, get to know each other, and learn from one another. Our post-event survey provided great feedback on the event.
72% responded to the survey
86% said that the reason they went was to meet people & network
88% rated the event high overall
99% said that they would like to meet either quarterly (57%) or bi-annually (22%)
96% said that the best time to meet was after 4 pm
Overall, comments were positive and encouraging.
“I met several people that I will connect with again.”
“Perfect set-up with tables, chairs and pens/paper.”
“This event was great and I look forward to connecting with community leaders at future events.”
With the strong response and high preference for quarterly gatherings, we’ll stay with Wednesday evening and meet again in August, followed by a pre-holiday gathering in November. So, mark your calendars for Wed August 14, 4:30 – 6 pm and Wed November 20, 4:30 – 6 pm.
*Quote from “The Leadership Challenge” 3rd edition, by James Kouzes & Barry Posner, page 181
When I hear the phrase, “once upon a time,” I immediately relax, settle into my chair, and focus my attention on what’s coming next. I’m about to hear a story.
Stories form the foundation of virtually all our entertainment and learning. All TV series, movies, and books (even most non-fiction) are stories. Songs, lectures, dances, and many paintings evoke stories. It’s how we convey information and instruction, and it’s how we turn information into meaning,
Communicating with donors and other stakeholders requires us to tell stories. Yet, many of us struggle with where to start, how to gather stories, and how best to tell them.
Over the next few weeks, ONEplace offers events targeted on this challenge. Great Stores = Connection (May 29) provides interview questions to draw out information and tips on how to engage staff in gathering good stories. Plus, we’ll look at several examples.
In Assess Your Qualitative Impact (May 30), Demarra Gardner shows us how to evaluate our organization’s programs and services, drawing out the information that paints a comprehensive picture of how we are fulfilling our mission.
ONEplace also explores two arenas for telling your story with How to Win Corporate Grants (May 21) and Asking for a Legacy Gift (June 6).
Our stories carry power – power to inspire, encourage and motivate. No other medium comes close. Make it work for you.