Leadership, Resources

Development in a Downturn

I tend toward the optimistic side of most issues, occasionally to my detriment. The state of the economy is undeniably bad the world over, but I’m reluctant to spend much time lamenting the situation. Doing so serves mostly to distract us from mission and probably contributes to the self-fulfilling prophecy of doom that is simultaneously increasing demand on charities and reducing their support. I want to resist that by pointing toward some of the strategic moves that can be (and I’d argue must be) made in this time. Esteemed author Patrick Lencioni’s current POV article argues that now is the time for leaders to focus on strengthening the core of their teams, developing core capabilities in order to be ready to thrive when things turn around. One aspect of this (which our mentoring cohort will be discussing with Arrow’s Carson Pue later this month) is preparing a deliberate Leadership Development Plan. Alan Nelson wrote an excellent primer on how to do this early this month. The tendency is to batten down the hatches and hide in the hopes that all of this will soon blow over, but we know that’s not going to work. However long this turmoil lasts, it is likely to result in some lasting shifts in how charities function, both in fundraising and in programs. Those that want to be ready to make a significant difference for years to come will take advantage of the immediate need to focus intensely and prepare through uncertainty by developing their most valuable resource, their people.