Lead from where you areOne of our core axioms at DBD Group is "Leadership is Everything.” The success of an organization can be directly tied to the strength of its leadership.

We recognize that leaders can be found throughout the organization and in non-profits big and small. More than a title on a business card, leadership is the ability to guide and influence others toward a bigger vision. We are pleased to highlight and recognize examples of leadership all month.



Lessons In Leadership

I hopped on a cycling bike this week, after about a month away.


In more ways than one.

I huffed and puffed a bit, struggling to keep up with the class, with one eye on the clock counting the minutes.
In the middle of a long and brutal jog, the instructor looked up, a bit out of breath herself, and said: “Push it. But don’t break it.”

Ahh, I thought. Push it, but don’t break it.

Permission to turn down the resistance knob.

That is a great lesson for leadership.

Is Full Throttle Necessary? 

Where in your organization might you turn down the resistance knob a notch or two? Where might you make it a bit easier on your team and system right now? As leaders, we need to know when to challenge ourselves and our organizations—when to stretch the system to move toward a greater vision and impact. But we also need to know what might push a system too much. Instead, we sometimes need to find the flat road.

How Can We Lessen the Load for Our Team?

A young manager in a non-profit just said to me yesterday, “Our staff works really hard,” she said. “But staff won’t put up with the schedule that they put up with three years ago. They won’t burn the candle at both ends.” These days, leaders are reluctant to push volunteers too much as well. Board members gave a lot of time and energy to get us through the last two years. They, too, are tired.

In facilitating strategic planning right now, we are having to help CEOs and board chairs carefully choose what they take on. It’s almost like we need to give them permission to not stretch too far. Maybe we don’t need to do quite so comprehensive an environmental scan. Maybe we don’t have to do key leader interviews and focus groups and participant surveys and a market analysis. We need to do some of that. But these days, we are advising, “What is the minimum information needed to know what your organization needs to know to move forward?” Leaders need to stretch the systems they are leading, but not break them.

How do we know when we might be pushing an organization too much?

We can ask:
• What is stretching our organization most right now?
• Where do our staff need a breather?
• What new shifts in roles might need to happen to help us be more effective?
• What can we let go of?
• Where do we need even greater resiliency?
• As a leader, where am I right now? Am I tuned up, stretched out, fired up, and ready to go? Or do I need my own pause?

Sometimes, more than greater activity, a non-profit needs a breather: A time to pause, reflect and evaluate where we are.
Spring is coming—new life is around the corner.

At the end of this long winter, it’s a great time to take a pause, identify where we are, and where we might give ourselves and our organizations some slack, some grace in the system. Life on the flat road can be freeing now and then. We can then take it from there.

Go Further Faster

What kind of changes are you seeing? How have you adjusted your plans? If you're building a strategic plan, reach out to DBD Group. We'd love to help you to facilitate an actionable strategic plan that'll guide you through the changes we're all experiencing in leadership and in the workforce.


Posted by Kellie Wardman
Kellie Wardman

Written by Kellie Wardman

Kellie Wardman, PCC, CPCC, has worked in the non-profit sector for 20 years, serving as a consultant and executive coach for a wide range of innovative and impactful leaders and organizations. She has provided clients with comprehensive support in a wide range of disciplines, including strategic planning, board development and governance, facilitating partnerships and collaborations, and capital development.

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