Archive for September, 2008

Developing Personal Accountability

Posted on September 24, 2008. Filed under: Leadership | Tags: , , , , |

In the past year, I have grown in my community involvement and have begun to take on some leadership roles with various community organizations.  As I grow into my own leadership style, I am learning to focus on keeping myself accountable.  Strong personal accountability is not only important for getting things done, but also reacting to crisis or keeping your actions ethical.

As selfgrowth.com says,

Personal accountability allows you to move away from a mindset where things happen ‘to you’ in your life without your consent or influence, and embrace your role in the way your life is shaped by moving to a place of true power and freedom.

It is important for every individual, not just in leadership to maintain personal accountability.  Taking control of a situation and not blaming others for it.

When working in the community, I think it’s easy to fall into saying, “if only”, instead of planning for the future.  With a strong accountability to myself as a leader I am able to plan for the future of the boards I work on, and develop stronger leadership skills in the process.

College doesn’t necessarily teach you the skills of personal accountability.  You may learn about it in a leadership class, but you don’t truly develop your own ethical principles and patterns for growth until you enter the “real world”.

My growth to maintaining personal accountability over the past 2 years, has been extremely tough for me.  I had to learn that taking responsibility for a crisis, is much better than failing again.  Taking accountability for my mistakes and for planning better for the future of the organizations I am leading had helped me to better learn from those mistakes and from each specific situation.  I like to reflect on all decisions made and think about what I could have done better, what may have been the more ethical way of doing it, how can I plan better in the future.

Gaining these skills, which I am still working on, has been the toughest experience I have had in all the work I do, and I am sure it is a challenge for many other young nonprofit professionals.  Being accountable for leading community work is hard, and I hope to continue to grow in this area.

How have you been fostering personal accountability?

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Collaborate to meet your vision for a better community.

Posted on September 21, 2008. Filed under: collaboration | Tags: , , , , |

I like to talk/blog about collaboration, and believe it’s one thing that would help the nonprofit sector grow and fix some of the problems the sector has with sustainability.  Collaboration as Hildy Gottleib, author of the blog Creating the Future! said during our Governing Nonprofits for Success Conference, “you have to partner to reach the vision of the community you want.”  She went on to talk about what the vision of all nonprofits, or community benefit organizations as she calls them, should be.  She says, all nonprofits should have a vision that starts with “Our vision is a community that…”

Essentially, all community benefit organizations, (I like her idea of using these terms instead of nonprofit) are vying for a better community around the area they are working in.  Homelessness organizations envision a community without homeless; food banks envision a community without hunger; after school programs envision a community with respectful, achieving youth.

As Hildy sees it, it is important for the boards, community leaders, of all organizations to meet with those of similar organizations to collaborate in creating a better community in their area of focus.  I know it’s easier said than done, but Hildy shared examples of programs that have done this, and I am sure if you take a conscience look around your community you could find organizations doing the same.

Collaboration does not come easy, and many times the egos of organizations get in the way of truly collaborating to meet their vision.  The same goes for individuals who desire to start their own nonprofits.  Many passionate individuals don’t see the harm they could cause by not partnering with already established organizations to help them sustain or grow similar programs.  I think education is the key to building a better understanding for what a strong community benefit sector should look like, it could be the subject of many posts, but I will leave you now with just the statement.

It is important for all nonprofit professionals to share the story of the sector with those that may not be as familiar.  It is up to us working in the sector to create the knowledge needed to keep the sector strong.

I have been challenging myself to share what a nonprofit really does with individuals who don’t understand what my job is, and I challenge you to do the same.

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Find your partners in crime, life, and work.

Posted on September 10, 2008. Filed under: Partners | Tags: , , , |

I typically don’t write a lot about my personal life, but feel the need lately to share a little more.  I decided I am stuck in blogging writer’s block, because I felt like I had to always share in a bulleted format or teach a lesson through a well-planned formal essay.  The truth is a lot of what I love and am passionate about I experience on a daily basis and need to share more of those experiences.  So, here it goes my first blog about my life.  Watch out, it may be a mushy one.

As you may have seen in a previous post about not setting goals, I am planning a wedding.  I am marrying my best friend, the funniest man I know, on April 25, 2009.  He is my life-long partner and I knew it the first time we ate sushi together after a long time of not being in touch.  We were friends in college.  I always had a crush on him. Our journey brought us back together about a month after I graduated, about 6 months since we had even commented on each other’s facebook.  And as history wrote it, we are getting married.

After meeting with our photographers, I absolutely love them, and taking our first quiz for our premarital counseling, I realized I am more excited now than I have ever been before about anything.  I am excited to navigate through the rest of life with someone who understands my thinking, is willing to challenge it when needed, and shares a love for life and each other.

I have learned through our relationship that it is very important to have someone that keeps me in check.  Rob makes sure I am not sharing too much of myself, helps me keep my balance, and keeps me honest.

I suggest that everyone has a person like this, someone that can be completely honest with him or her in every situation.  It’s important to not just have a partner in life (whether a boyfriend, girlfriend, or best friend), but to also have a partner at work and in the community.  It is especially important for young leaders.  We all need someone who can tell us the truth about our work habits, how we are in certain situations, how are work habits will fit better with others we work with.

As a young leader I know it is hard to be humbled in your first job or when working in the community, you may think you can take on the world, but it’s important to allow yourself to get and take advice every once and a while.  I would not be able to make it through life or work with out these types of relationships.

What have you learned from your partners in crime?

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