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February 2011 - Philanthropia Partners

refreshMint: Deb’s perspectives on the latest news and ideas in philanthropy.

I Can See Clearly Now !

February 6, 2011 | By | No Comments

Wow. February is here. I don’t know how fast it was for you, but January was an amazingly busy month for Philanthropia Partners. I’ve been furiously working on a talk for the AFPInternational Conference in March, providing quiet counsel for major donor visits, facilitating next level strategic planning and working energetically with my private coaching clients. It’s been rich!

Something struck me the other day as I was thinking about the progress of each of my clients. There has been a very consistent theme emerging this month – with all of them! It seems that regardless of the client, regardless of the nature of our work together, regardless of the type of organization, or even the geography in which we’re working- there is a tremendous need for people to view themselves, their work, their members, their customers and their organizations DIFFERENTLY. That is, to make the familiar new and exciting again. To re-write the script. To re-frame the picture. To INTERRUPT the status quo. We all acknowledge that “best practices” and “benchmarking” have traditionally been reliable ways to strengthen and increase capacity for individuals and organizations. BUT if organizations and people really want to reach higher, to serve more people, to be more effective, to really impact change, they MUST break out of their traditional thinking. Helping clients achieve this is critical to my role as a thought partner and consultant. If done well, it’s where people and organizations make quantum leaps forward and up.

To help illustrate, we turn to my friend Dan. For those of you who follow my recommended reading list or blog, you know I am a HUGE Dan Pink fan. I visit his website regularly for “thought interruptions” and his books have been a key resource in my teaching and philanthropy talks. I am always inspired to step to the edge of my personal and professional thinking when enveloped in his work. This past month was no different. I stumbled across his connection to another great mind, Bill Taylor. Bill is co-founder of Fast Company magazine and author of Practically Radical: Not-So-Crazy Ways to Transform Your Company, Shake Up Your Industry and Challenge Yourself. Bill challenged all of us to pledge three simple things for 2011.

  • I resolve to help my organization (and me personally) become the “most of something” in my field.
  • I resolve to embrace a sense of vuja-de.
  • I resolve to look for new ideas in new places.

So how do you actually do this?

For the first pledge, take time to think about what you and your organization do well. It’s time to focus on strengths and build upon them. As Bill says, it no longer good enough to be “pretty good” at something. Excel. Lead. Focus on where you can stand head and shoulders above your competitors. Live it and promote it.

As for vuja-de, determine how you can look at the same recurring problem or need as if you’ve never seen it before. Instead of “here we go again” think “what have we never tried before?” The answer can point you in a new, fresh direction.

Ideas in new places? As I mentioned, best practices from your field are great, but what about implementing a successful idea from a completely different industry? What are the Fortune 500′s doing? The start-ups? There is no reason to keep recycling the same mundane processes. Think BIG.

I encourage you to learn more and spend some time with Dan and Bill. Let me know if you’d like some help – I’m ready!