ArtsQuest...Where the Arts and Leadership Meet

ArtsQuest...Where the Arts and Leadership Meet

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you know that I love to look at how organizations can be "real time" case studies for different leadership models. In this article, I will share the inspiring story of a ArtsQuest, a transformative organization and how it applies to THE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE.

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Is Shared Leadership a "Real Thing"

Is Shared Leadership a "Real Thing"

So, do I personally recommend organizations attempt this model? Well, I suppose this is part of the reason it has taken me so long to write this blog. For shared leadership to work, it has to be about intentionally building a relationship of familiarity, comfort and trust between all stakeholders.

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I Dare You to Write THAT Grant

I Dare You to Write THAT Grant

It may be stressful to think about writing this kind of capacity building grant. It is so far out of the comfort zone of what we are used to doing with our funding requests. However; these types of funding opportunities are rare at the present time. They are the kind of opportunities that we wish were more plentiful, so I challenge you as leaders not to walk away from seeking such a grant just because the application process feels like a daunting task. As a CE0, this is a chance to truly take your organization from good to great.

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Six Ways to Model Grit as a Nonprofit Leader

Six Ways to Model Grit as a Nonprofit Leader

Everyone should join a book club. I am fortunate enough to be part of an amazing group of truly brilliant women who meet once a month to drink a little wine and discuss some great books. Our choice this month was “GRIT” by Angela Duckworth. Duckworth is the Founder and CEO of Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development. She is also the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, faculty co-director of the Penn-Wharton Behavior Change For Good Initiative, and faculty co-director of Wharton People Analytics. And, she wrote a groundbreaking book in 2016 entitled “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.”

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Can Synergy Leadership Circles Change your Life?

Can Synergy Leadership Circles Change your Life?

Imagine…

  • Having a community of peers who really get this crazy nonprofit universe

  • A place to tap into the collective wisdom of other leaders

  • A spot where familiarity, comfort and trust are valued and validated in a confidential environment

  • An opportunity to celebrate accomplishments and tackle challenges

  • A professional development opportunity that you can access anywhere

    Learn more at www.thinkgoodleadership.com

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Strategically Spending Staff Development Dollars

Strategically Spending Staff Development Dollars

On a daily basis, nonprofit professionals receive invitations to attend things like Chamber events, educational seminars or professional organization activities. The question is how do you best match your opportunities, monetarily speaking, with your needs?

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Timing is Everything

Timing is Everything

What do Astrology, March Madness and Daniel Pink have in common? Timing. When pondering topics for my blog, I try to connect the lessons that I am learning in my own life and my work with leaders. This week has been filled with one common theme…why is everyone out of whack?

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The Listening Room

The Listening Room

Getting unplugged. Everyone talks about it. We are overloaded and overwhelmed with technology. I have to say that I am usually not “that” person who is constantly plugged in, checking my email and social media sites…yet this week’s blog is focused on my complete failure to stay “balanced” this week. This week reminded me that I need to hold myself accountable for causing my own techno stress.

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It’s Complicated

It’s Complicated

Let’s start with the premise that people get involved with nonprofit organizations with the best of intent. Individuals come to organizations because they’re passionate about the mission, they have a skill set they believe will enhance the operation and they believe they can make a difference in their community. Every non profit has a board committee, sometimes called "board development" or "nominating" or "governance", whose primary role is talent development. 

The burden of developing the essential partnership in nonprofits rests with both the CEO and the Board Chair. 

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Fly Eagles Fly-A Leadership Love Letter

Fly Eagles Fly-A Leadership Love Letter

Today is Super Bowl Sunday and it honestly feels better than any Christmas morning. We are going all out here - Eagles flags and balloons, Philly Food, crazy Eagle temporary tats and bling. We have some strong superstitions as well. I have worn the same Eagles shirt for each game this season, and we always have Buffalo wings on game day. As I was getting my game day gear on today, I started thinking about why all of this feels so fun and how it might be tied to reflections on leadership. Being part of Philly fandom has reminded me of some great lessons this year.

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Reflections from a 20 Hour A Week Executive Director and Entrepreneur

Reflections from a 20 Hour A Week Executive Director and Entrepreneur

In September, I began an interim role as an Executive Director. I had fully launched my consulting practice, Think Good Leadership, and was building my fun “side gig” (India Hicks). Today, I thought this might be a good time to reflect on how I am managing and sometimes not managing the juggling of these balls. Leadership is about habit, practice and yes, being vulnerable. As individuals, we are on a lifelong journey and this blog is merely represents some insight into where I am on the journey.

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Identity, Empathy and Leadership in the Time of Trump

Identity, Empathy and Leadership in the Time of Trump

Let me start by saying this is not a political commentary. I made a very conscientious decision not to make my businesses or writings about my personal politics. I have, however, based the vision of my company on the tenets of values based leadership.  Hopefully, as you read this article and consider my point of view on this topic, you will consider my experience in working in the diversity and inclusion space with the nation's largest diversity and inclusion firm to be significant. And, the fact that I spent 15 years working on college campuses working with student groups from all walks of life. I’ve advised groups like the Black Women Support Group at Lafayette College and travelled with the AIDS quilt in the early 90’s. 

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Roll with the Changes...

Roll with the Changes...

What’s your relationship with the word “change”? Does it stir up feelings of uncertainty, worry or fear? Is it something you literally dread? Or, is it a word that brings you a feeling of energy or excitement, like an adrenaline rush?

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The Year of Choosing Wisely

The Year of Choosing Wisely

Spontaneous. Impulsive. Intuitive. Three words that I use to describe myself. I love these words because they provide me with the strength and the energy needed to take risks and to feed my creative and entrepreneurial spirit. These are core values that come to me naturally without practice. They are on autopilot and are my default mode. But as a coach, I want to model the way for building new areas of strength through the practice of new habits.

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The 5 questions that get me excited about 2018

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I’ve noticed recently that my blogging has gotten a bit away from sharing my own insights on life and leadership. It’s the time of the year when I feel the need to look back and reflect on where I’ve been and where I am going, so I’d like to share my very personal thoughts with you on this topic.

Let’s start in the summer of 2016. Truth be told, I was exhausted. I had been serving as the CEO of a nonprofit in my community for six years, and, with the support of my team, had transformed the organization. It was a lot of “heavy lifting”. I am a person who values innovation, and I was feeling that we were moving from creating to continuous improvement processes which, professionally speaking, left me feeling less interested in the work.

I was offered an opportunity to work with someone who had been a mentor to me and to build programming around topics about which I was passionate. We did some innovative work together but, in the end, I realized that what brings me the most joy is working with non-profit leaders and their organizations. I literally had a vision of a very specific non profit niche which I could serve well, and this vision was different than that of my employer.

So, I found myself in a place where I needed to get real honest with myself. I have this funny little expression….”you either become an expert or you expire” and I knew that, at my age, I had a very tight window to launch the business that was calling me. This wasn’t the first time I had taken a career turn, but I did have the sense that I finally was ready to do what I was meant to do.

In my coaching practice, I often talk to my clients about how vision and values can feel misaligned and this is where I landed in May of 2017. Now, seven months later, there is much on which to reflect regarding my decision to launch Think Good Leadership.

I’d like to “talk out loud” about these reflections with you, based on five key questions:

·      What do I want?

·      Who really needs my “A” Game everyday?

·      Who can I serve?

·      Why not now?

·      What does my internal compass tell me about where I am going?

What do I want?

Professionally, I want to build a business that provides nonprofit organizations with the confidence and tools to take their organizations to the next level of excellence. I want to see their leaders develop and maintain a leadership mindset and I want these leaders to empower their staff to adopt that mindset across the enterprise. If we are going to really solve the biggest problems facing in the world today  (substandard housing, food scarcity, education), we need to ignite the problem solving capacity of nonprofits.

In my personal life, I want to be able to be fully present with my family and friends. I want to be able to focus on one conversation at a time. I want to balance well so that I can lean in to working with my best energy.

How did I do in 2017? I would give myself an “A” on the professional side of this equation. I love my clients and the work they are doing and I do see them growing as a result of our work together. Unfortunately, it’s a “C” on my personal life. Early into my consulting, I took on a part time Executive Director role. It has been challenging on a weekly basis to balance building my business, doing my business and managing my energy well. I need to focus on creating more space for recharging and bringing the joy in 2018.

My big goal next year is to address the next question of “who needs my ‘A’ game today.” I recently listened to a podcast with super motivator/author/seeker Brendon Burchard. He suggests setting a desk trigger for yourself and asking yourself, who needs me most on my A game right now. He opines that, “bringing you’re A game means that you are giving your best effort with full focus on the singular task at hand.” I’ve decided this will be a daily practice for me in 2018, as it will help me focus on the challenges of each day.

Who Can I Serve? Everyone right?  Oops…that just isn’t possible. I suffer from a severe case of “pleaser syndrome”. I learned this trait from my grandmother and while I know that it makes me a very caring person, it also can make me feel a bit resentful. When you squeeze everything out of yourself pleasing others, you have very little left for your self. So, I think a better answer to this question in 2018 should be who I can “best” serve. If I can’t be all things to all people, I think I need to consider who would be best served by my help. Who is coachable? Who is committed to a growth mindset?

Why Not Now? New ideas for my business keep me up at night and keep me squeezing out every minute of every day. I listen to many podcasts that give substantive suggestions about how to build a start up business. It’s actually a bit overwhelming to think about all of the tools, resources and information out there that can impact what you do. And, if you know me at all, I am wildly enthusiastic. If I am really honest here, the choices can be overwhelming. Podcast? Videos? Group coaching? Professional development? I want it all. I want it now. I think my biggest challenge in 2018 will be narrowing down all the noise about what is next and focusing on no more than three platforms which will best assist my clients.

 What does my internal compass tell me about all of the other questions? I have worked hard to clarify my personal values this year. What I’ve learned is that, at my best, I am insightful, inspiring and enthusiastic. When living with intent, my connections with others are driven by mutual respect, kindness and full engagement. I also know that, without taking risks, being persistent and managing my life with integrity, I will feel off my game.

I would love to hear from you, my readers, about your top questions for next year. Let’s get a conversation going, and let’s make 2018 extraordinary.

The Best in Holiday Giving For Leaders

The Best in Holiday Giving For Leaders

Think Good Leadership specializes in delivering good news in the world of feedback through a tool called the LPI 360. Prior to sharing feedback, we provide a general overview about the five practices of exemplary leaders identified by thirty years of research of Barry Posner and Jim Kouzes.

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What’s Your Reason for Existing?

What’s Your Reason for Existing?

I recently had the opportunity to work with one of the most respected organizations in our community. Following a merger, the new leadership asked me to come in to facilitate a two-day Leadership Challenge workshop. We spent a significant time on the specifics of “Inspiring a Shared Vision”.

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Sleep Better with Whole Brain Thinking

Sleep Better with Whole Brain Thinking

Although they don’t call it Whole Brain Thinking, this approach to building a heterogeneous team is what Whole Brain Thinking is all about. In a six-year study, the US Forest Service found that teams that are balanced in terms of thinking preferences are more effective; they consider more options and make better decisions. The study also found that when faced with a complex challenge, whole brained teams were 66% more efficient than homogeneous teams.

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Get Slimed: Thoughts on Volunteering

 Get Slimed: Thoughts on Volunteering

This week, I got my hands dirty. Really dirty. They were filled with cornstarch, dish soap, food coloring and all sorts of goodies associated with doing a good old-fashioned science experiment. With my new entrepreneurial lifestyle in full swing, I get to do some things that I haven’t been able to do in years…including volunteering.

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Go Ahead...Advocate for Yourself.

Go Ahead...Advocate for Yourself.

Dear Colleagues…now is the time to LEAD and plan. Investing resources in succession planning and leadership coaching for high potential staff members is the proactive way to approach the crisis. Here is what you need to know. The CAP (Coaching and Philanthropy Project) has done extensive research on assessing and advancing coaching as a strategy for building nonprofit organizations. According to their extensive research

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