Leading by Listening
I read CausePlanet.org’s book reviews and articles on a regular basis for their wisdom and to follow the conversation. In preparing to write this post, I perused many recent pieces for inspiration. Brilliant stuff…. if perhaps a bit head-spinning for most nonprofit CEOs when taken in large doses. Fundraise this way, establish your culture that way, create a sustainable business model this way, connect with social media that way. And change sure is hard, but here’s how to do it (from my personal favorites – the Heath brothers). Woah!
My bookshelf is stocked (now my iPad2) with many such books and there is often much to gain from them. At the same time, I believe that the best leaders learn the most from listening to the people with whom they work. Unless the CEO walks the floors, encourages people to truly say what they think, and has an open ear, no advice from any book will help. This is surely the case with CEOs of NGOs and nonprofits who are the primary readers of this site.
And listening doesn’t mean much unless your organization is successfully engaging and retaining people from a variety of generations, backgrounds and perspectives. While it might seem messy and at times inconvenient to have a blend of personalities – even more so when they are ardent advocates of the cause – the magic and energy of the organization is in that very passion and diversity. Without that, a nonprofit environment would be sterile; it would lose its heart and soul. It would also miss the variety of stories and sharing of experiences from the people at the organization who make the world a better place.
Korngold Consulting LLC assists corporations in building fully integrated, high-impact CSR strategies, including leadership development through nonprofit board service. Korngold Consulting trains and places business executives on nonprofit boards, and consults to nonprofit boards and leaders to strengthen governance for financial and strategic success.