Being nimble is on my mind following a nonprofit board meeting which I recently attended. John Park D.Ed, a director with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP, reminded board members that while skill and talent are important the capacity to be nimble is critical to navigating change.
Not too long ago I wrote a LinkedIn article Leading Through Change: 3 Facts and 1 Point to Ponder. In that piece I said that I believe that we struggle the most with unwelcome or unexpected change. It’s difficult to think about being nimble, but critical when the:
Donor who we thought was going to make the lead campaign gift tells us that she needs to redirect those resources to pay for treatment for a family member.
Executive director or president of the university where we work announces her or his impending departure just as a campaign is supposed to go public.
What’s a professional to do? Is it possible to learn how to become nimble? Can we improve our capacity to lead through change?
As this Fast Company article – Change or Die – indicates, it might not be easy to change, but we can do it. Pulling from this article and others I offer five steps that I believe can help us lead through change:
2. As Tony Robbins said in a video that recently made the rounds on LinkedIn: “Discipline Your Disappointment.”
4. Read Jim Collin’s book Good to Great (here’s a synopsis written by Mr. Collins)
When I speak about change leadership I always find myself returning to the concept of resilience. If you haven’t read the book Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance you might review Diane Coutu’s Harvard Business Review article How Resilience Works (May, 2002).
I teach aspiring and professional fundraisers, but I have a confession to make — I am a work in progress when it comes to leading through change and being resilient. Events such as not receiving the hoped for campaign gift, experiencing leadership changes, and unexpected life losses taught me lessons about resilience.
So too has Dr. Raymond Lombra, Director of Penn State’s Certificate Program in Fundraising Leadership. It was Ray who first passed articles about resilience along to me when served as the Director of Development in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State.
· Who are your teachers?
· What books or articles have you read that have made you a better professional?
Here’s hoping you will share because we can all learn from one another.
Sophie Penney, Ph.D. is the President of i5 Fundraising and the Senior Program Coordinator and Lecturer for Penn State’s all online Certificate Program in Fundraising Leadership.