Pebble on the shoe, dirt under the nails, sliver under the skin -
Little things that hurt the body. Little things that undermine your performance. Little things that derail you from your objective. It hurts like crazy, it is annoying, it is derailing, it gets in the way.
What is the pebble in your life that does affect your performance? Remember, it is insidious, inconspicuous, obtrusive, alien, and absolutely annoying.
Most of the time, you do not know that you have it because it doesn’t feel like it until it hurts like crazy.
Take time to identify areas in your performance that gets in the way of your best.
Take them off before you stumble or ask someone to help you get it out of your system.
There is so much thinking, investigating, consulting, checking things out, and consulting back and forth, including more people, and more networks for an executive decision that should be done by a strong executive. This is utterly useless!
There is no strong executive to do that obviously. The time is slipping away. There is too much time lag consulting too many people whose views are not that important in the long run.
Take that decision and recalibrate as you go. There is no such thing as a perfect time to make a decision. When you have 60% of facts, go and dive in.
A few days ago I got an inquiry from a manager of one of the growing community programs in Central Alberta. She inquired about evaluation and how they should go about it.
One of the things I noticed is that from all the other networks that I have traveled is that she is the only one who had the courage to inquire about evaluation as one of the elements of her program development. The word “evaluation” conjures feelings of fear of being found out that they have failed, fear of being found out that their work is insufficient, just plain fear.
It is a normal feeling but evaluation is a standard program requirement these days. And the “no money, we are a non-profit” doesn’t work too. Don’t use these excuses to know about this important topic. The initiative to know is why good managers stand out from the crowd.
The question is how you are going to deal with the “you don’t know what you don’t know” challenge.
· The first thing is to do is to ask the right questions and acknowledge that you don’t know anything about it. Organizations refuse to seek outside help because they want to keep their independence but there are no resources internally that can actually provide enough momentum for the kind of change/result they want to see. Staying independent but not knowing what to do is not the smartest move.
· The second thing is to seek experts and people and organizations who have done it before and learn from their success or failure. Look around your sector and talk to organizations that are in better shape in this area and learn how they came to be. You do not have to reinvent the wheel.
· The third thing is to seek ways to get a beginners knowledge and understanding that will propel you to commit to small actions that are building blocks for something greater in the long-run. It is about being a champion or an initiator in your office. Tell your boss that you want to improve your program development skills and get the best practice in results-orientation out there. It will help your organization move incrementally as you seek to be enlightened and later champion progress in this area.
An inquiring mind is a good start. The more you learn about something new, the more you can begin to see its value and usefulness in your organization. Take small steps and you will never regret it.
A single parent mom aged 25 years old with two kids less than 5 years old each managed to finish her college education, get a degree, get a good job, pay the mortgage, raise her two kids, and now looking to get a Master’s degree after saving some monies.
A paraplegic has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro helping fundraise a million dollars for building schools in Africa. He trained for one year and with the help of trainers get him into shape to accomplish his goal.
How can they do that? Do they have superpowers?
No, they are just regular people with an extraordinary sense of commitment to a certain task or a goal. Their bodies, environment, circumstances, and conditions were never perfect for those goals but they set out to perfect and harness their assets- strength of character, wholeness in their lives, and getting support they need from loved ones to get to the place where they want to be.
Capacity is not what you have in the present moment. Capacity extends and grows out of the abundance of your vision to change, to advance, to grow, to move forward. Capacity goes with you in the direction where you want to go.
When organizations say they do not have the capacity but are not able to invest either their time, staff, and resources to build capacity, they are simply saying that” it is not a priority.” Because capacity-building is never without a cost.
When people refuse to build personal capacity because they are lazy, ill-motivated, disillusioned, given-up on life and work, it means that they have given up on themselves.
Capacity is not about the size of your wallet or your mansion or the type of the car you drive.
Building capacity is building oneself. Building capacity is loving your self to work on how you can be a better person, a better manager, a better employee, a better husband/wife/son/daughter.
Capacity-building at the personal level is not the crash diet that is never effective.
Effective capacity-building is operating on the basis of why and coming up with accountability measures so that change is internalized into the core being of your person. The ‘who’ you are inside is dying to be fully freed from the shackles of mindless and thoughtless self-defeating thinking and action.
It is time to build your capacity muscle. How big is your capacity? It is as big as your vision.
My goal of winning this year is not just a matter of scoring few assignments. Don’t get me wrong. I would love to have those assignments to keep me busy for the last quarter of the year. A great kick-off for next year’s work actually. But yet, the consistency of my work has to be there, day in and day out, in bad and in good weather, in slow times and in fast times.
This consistency is what I would like to celebrate and further strengthen. This is not the goal itself but looking at what I have done since January, I am pretty set up for a more disciplined and targeted approach to acquiring the kind of business that I want for the next five years.
To the organizations, individuals, and companies that are putting in the right effort and the right strategy to use to achieve their goals, hang in there. Michael Angelo painted the Sistine Chapel. It took him a long time but each time, he was getting closer to his “ Obra Maestra.” Your work of art will not be an overnight success.
Nobody is an overnight success. Their discovery is an overnight success but their journey from zero to getting there is never done overnight. Show me one and I will prove to you in million times over that it was never what it appeared to be. Easy on the outside, difficult on the inside.
There is a lot of pruning that needs to happen on a daily basis. Discarding those that no longer suited you or have become irrelevant in your life is important. You do get sidelined sometimes but as long you keep your goals in the frame of your mind, it will stay as priorities.
Eliminating things that no longer fit your own frame of mind and future you have set for yourself is crucial. Those are beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes that are self-limiting. It tends to slow you down and its weight will make you paralyze from inaction. Some of these are good for when you were younger and have those conditions that are sort of set for you by your parents, school, etc. But you have evolved as part of maturity. A 42-year-old person will no longer afford to just ” go with the flow.”
The winning behavior, attitudes, and beliefs will increase your traction, create the change that is balanced and sustained, and set you for the long-term achievements to come.
What elements in your life can you discard, retain, and accept as part of your winning formula?
A couple of years ago, the notion of building your own nonprofit /(also known as Non-government organization) NGO and chasing funders left and right to fund your projects would be faced with trepidation. Not now.
There were many new NGOs and INGOs that have mushroomed in the last five to ten years.
Yes, the facility, the technology, the networking, and the amount of information that we have about what works and what do not work have abounded in a gazillion times.
This is also the era of start-ups, innovation prizes, and private sector-led initiatives that call for market-oriented solutions.
Everyone can be a disruptor, innovator, accelerator, and other important adjectives or noun that you can name. I just googled the word ‘disruptor’ and guess what, it produced 10,600,000 results.
There were many instances and conversations with groups, individuals, and networks I found myself in small chit-chats that revolved around about building an NGO for this and that. It is a noble and endearing idea that some people will commit their life and time to help others and for social good.
But, I think that people have misunderstood the day-to-day work that it requires.
A lot of nonprofits fail because they do not have the business mindset and the financial management skills to keep it afloat.
Marketing is a number one preoccupation aside from getting those services out in the door to the target communities. If you do not have the plan to keep it sustainable, you will literally have to use your personal monies to keep it barely alive.
I have worked with founders and creators of various nonprofits and all their time is devoted to getting funds either by grants, donations, and other creative income-generation mechanisms.
Do not be surprised that by the first 5 years or more, this is what the CEO and Founder’s job would look like. Not very glamorous.
This search for funding has gotten a lot in trouble. From a nonprofit that works in, for example, the environment starts working on a different mandate totally unrelated to their core mission.
The chase for money can lead to further scope creep, venturing to unknown and inexperience lands just to get some dollars pumping into the organization before another staff gets to asked to resign. I have seen this practice a lot.
They tend to do many differentiated things but lose a lot of focus and expertise due to being a "Jack of All Trades."
They also court new donors with new monies on new ‘flavor of the month’ topics such as greening “everything” or using "technology" as a the solution to all social ills in the world without checking for what works with their client communities.
Building an NGO is a very demanding and challenging experience. Some people have built NGOs that have lasted for many decades and have succeeded a lot. Some built NGOs to be their own boss.
Giving back is the least reason why a new nonprofit has to be built. There are 1001 ways to give back without building one.
Start with the local community agencies in your area and build the required skills, perspectives, and experience you need to determine if this is the road you want to travel on.