20 Questions: Starting a Job as an Executive Director

  1. What will my legacy be with this organization?
  2. How will I have a positive local and global impact through my work with this organization?
  3. What are the strategic priorities of the organization?
  4. What is the complete and uncensored history of the organization?
  5. What are the community’s dreams for the future?
  6. How will I strengthen the organization’s relationships and open up new relationships?
  7. How is the board engaged in the work of the organization?
  8. How is the community engaged in the work of the organization?
  9. What do the staff, board, and volunteers need from me to be successful?
  10. What can I do to strengthen the organization’s processes?
  11. How will I promote the flow of information and ideas?
  12. How will I strengthen the organization’s fiscal position?
  13. How can I share my unique gifts and skills through this organization?
  14. How can I help others – staff, volunteers, program participants — make the most of their unique gifts and skills?
  15. What does our organization do well? How has it been successful in the past?
  16. What are our organization’s core competencies?
  17. What does our organization not do well? How has it be challenged in the past?
  18. What needs to be changed and what needs to be maintained or enhanced?
  19. Is the organization’s structure adequate to support the needs of the organization?
  20. What additional resources are needed to achieve the organization’s goals?

Tips, Tricks, and Secrets

Whenever I see those words in marketing copy, I immediately feel a bit suspicious. I crave real relationships, openness, and authenticity and I try to integrate these values into my work and my marketing efforts. I don’t want to offer tips, tricks, or secrets through my work; instead, I hope to inspire deeper and more expansive thinking and feeling to elevate the tenor of, and meaning in, our work. Is this realistic? Is this what people want? I’m not so sure. By aligning my work and my marketing with my lofty ideals, I may actually be alienating and excluding a lot of people that would eventually be open to pursuing more complex ideas. Tips, tricks, and secrets might actually be superficial entry points to strong, meaningful relationships.

I felt a bit of dis-ease as I wrote the copy for two of my recently published books, The Fruition Coalition Grant Proposal Workbook and The Fruition Coalition Marketing Plan Workbook. I wanted to convey that they were simple and easy to use, which they were and I did. But I feel that there are also a handful of profound ideas within each book that could change the way we think about proposals and marketing. This was not captured in my marketing. I made this choice because I feel the books would be really, really, helpful to organizations and I want them to buy and use them.

Thus has been my marketing conundrum with the Fruition Coalition – balancing meaning with pragmatism, depth with superficiality, and complexity with simplicity. Any suggestions?

20 Questions: Advocacy

  1. What social condition(s) are we trying to shift?
  2. What change will positively influence this social condition?
  3. What is the specific ask?
  4. Are there any acceptable alternatives to this ideal solution?
  5. What will be the result of making such a change for the community overall and in the lives of individual people?
  6. What are the financial, environmental, and human costs and benefits of making such a change?
  7. What stories illustrate the need for this change?
  8. What data support the need for this change?
  9. What visuals can be used to communicate the need for this change?
  10. What structural obstacles are preventing this change from taking place?
  11. What personal or organizational resistance exists toward this change?
  12. What are the values and priorities of the decision makers that we need to influence?
  13. What other individuals and groups are working on this issue?
  14. Who else cares about this issue and why is it important to them?
  15. How will we engage others in our advocacy efforts?
  16. What key messages do we need to share?
  17. Who needs to hear our key messages?
  18. How will we communicate our key messages?
  19. How will we prepare others to be effective advocates for our cause?
  20. How will we strategically time our advocacy campaign?

Headbanger’s Rule #9: Adapt and Thrive

In 1984, Def Leppard Drummer Rick Allen was in a terrible car accident in which he lost is left arm. While his arm was fundamentally critical to his profession, he remained in the band – and one of the best drummers in the Heavy Metal universe – by using a customized drum set built to accommodate his new physical limitation. When we lose something that is so much a part of who we are, even when we are dependent upon it for our survival, we can adapt and thrive by creatively responding to the new circumstances of our lives.

Headbanger’s Rule #8: Be the Rainbow

Dio’s Rainbow in the Dark is another one of my favorite songs and videos. In this song, singer Ronnie James Dio reminds us of the magical potential in natural phenomena such as lightening and rainbows and, perhaps more importantly, that such magic is buried deep inside us if only we can let go and set it free. Rather than be oppressed by the dark, we ought to dance toward the light – and allow the light within us to shine bright.

Constructive Creativity

I love being creative and engaging in spaces where anything and everything is possible. Yet, sometimes this can be overwhelming and lead to a sense of frustration rather than liberation. When the ultimate goal is to make a decision or perform an action, constructive creativity may be useful.

Constructive creativity is a way to be effectively innovative. Using this method, the area of inquiry is clearly defined. This process can require a bit of time for discussion and reflection. A common understanding of what is to be investigated is fully articulated. From that common starting point, the creative journey begins. This way, the exploratory process is focused on the specific goal of the creative endeavor and the time invested is directed toward results.