Clients and former colleagues typically ask; ‘How is your work going?’; ‘What are others doing to succeed?’ and; ‘What have you learned along the way?’. My two year anniversary seems a good time to document some wisdom gained from the experience and observations. I hope you find it helpful or affirming!
Three thoughts rise to the top, and here’s a quick review.
1. Leadership involvement is 50% of everything – the difference between average and great.
My most successful clients possess the active involvement of leadership that helps them achieve their goals. Good leaders get the following feedback from their teams:
- My objectives are clear to me and my workload allows me the best chance to achieve them.
- There is less waste in my day. Meetings, paperwork, and technology help me achieve my objectives, or my management will do something about it.
- My senior team is aligned and I’m inspired by the way they work together and support our efforts.
- We are all held accountable.
2. The best practice their craft.
We don’t practice enough. Too many managers allow staff to learn on the job – alone. Our work is not easy, and we need to help each other more. What practice is and isn’t:
- Practice is when staff are regularly observed using their skills, and then provided constructive and timely feedback. This can be in role-play or in pairs with constituents or prospects.
- It is not practice to talk about a skill in meetings, and rarely have observers who offer constructive feedback on your effectiveness. This more common path is called winging it.
3. Be optimistic.
People I talk to are adamant about getting closer to their constituents and getting better at executing the work. Three areas stand out:
- As donors seek greater value and stronger results, our products and our focus on meaningful engagement is improving. This bodes well when the economy becomes more favorable.
- Nearly everyone can articulate the paradigms and systems injurious to good relationships, and most are doing something about it.
- People are more honest with themselves and others about their competencies, and the need to improve themselves.