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Pages tagged "Leadership"


Conversations That Count: Appreciative Inquiry and Cascading Conversations

main.jpgOne of my favorite theoretical concepts is that of linguistic determinism, or the idea that language and its structures limit and determine human knowledge or thought. Our classic Minnesota example is the various types of precipitation we encounter in the winter. We are able to refer to the white stuff as slush, wintry mix, and sleet -- whereas others in warmer climates might only be able to name it snow. 

The idea that we can only understand the purposes or capacities of things insofar as we have been introduced to them should urge us to dream up new ways to relate to and interact with everything around us. It matters not only to our ability to repurpose vases as drinkware when the rest of the dirty cups are in the sink, but also to the creativity and vision we can have for our lives and the communities we call home.

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What's So Scary About Fundraising?

by Kelly Rowan
follow me on Twitter: @kellykay30

As emerging leaders in the nonprofit sector, a solid grasp of fundraising basics serves us and our organizations well, no matter our department or role. But like so many things that are crucial, fundraising isn’t always appealing. So…why is fundraising so scary? What do we really need to understand about philanthropy’s role in our organizations? How can we build our skills and experience related to fundraising?

A group of young nonprofit professionals gathered to explore these questions for the February Emerging Leaders Networking Lunch. Attendees shared lots of great questions, resources, and insights related to fundraising. Here are some highlights, with a generous dose of my own commentary.

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Confessions of a new board chair

Can I be honest? Sometimes a new leadership opportunity doesn’t feel like a thrilling adventure, or a great next step in your career path. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a long-awaited chance to use your skills.

Sometimes it feels just, well, scary.

Maybe it’s unexpected. Maybe you don’t feel prepared. But there you find yourself and you have a choice. Say no, or face your fears and accept the challenge.

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Forget Leading from the Middle. Lead from Wherever You Are.


main.jpgThe phrase “Leading from the Middle” has been popping up all over the nonprofit world lately. From articles to blogs to conference breakout sessions, it seems people are quite eager to teach us how to “Lead from the Middle.”

After doing some research, asking around, and even requesting a fellow YNPNer do an e-news piece on the topic, I have come to a conclusion: “Leading from the Middle” is a flashy phrase with little substance.

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YNPN Twin Cities Insider: Catching up on turning it up (to 11)

You're busy. You probably miss a lot of events and opportunities for professional and leadership development. If one of those missed opportunities was our last Insider event—Turn It Up To 11: Finding the Next Setting in Your Leadership Path—you've got some homework to do.

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Learning from Loss in Your Nonprofit Family: Finding a Way from Ordinary to Extraordinary

Tim Nelson
May 13, 1953 – August 11, 2011

The following blog is by Bridget Ulrich.

In my experience, working for a nonprofit is a lot like being part of a family. The people you are surrounded with go beyond the average coworker. I believe this is because you are bonded by the reality of working towards a common good instead of a common goal. So what happens when a tragic loss shakes your work family to the core? I recently had the unfortunate experience of finding out.

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Same Game, Same Players, Same Results: Engaging with the political machine.

main.jpgA pretty scary realization hit me this week. I was in a room with about 35 young leaders, and when asked how many people had considered running for office about ten people raised their hands. When asked how many of those ten had changed their minds because of the current state of politics, about seven people put their hands down. What does this all mean? Fewer and fewer people are interested in entering politics, which means the people left on the playing field are those with extreme points of view. In essence, more of the same.

Whether we like to think about it or not, politics and policy affect us all. The bickering at the state capitol and in Washington may seem far-removed from our daily lives, but the reality is the resolutions from those fights will have an impact on our personal and professional lives.

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Q & As | How Do I Lead from the Middle? And What Does that Even Mean?

“Leading from the middle” is one of those phrases we throw around in the nonprofit world, but never clearly define – hoping and trusting that no one will be forward enough to ask us directly what we mean by that. I sat down with Alfonso Wenker, the Director of Development & Communications at PFund, to discuss his experience with this buzzy phase of professional life.

What do you think “leading from the middle” means?

It is noticing and recognizing the strengths you bring to an organization, and putting that foot forward. You recognize the skills or connections that others on your team, even executives, do not have, and find places where you can contribute to those deficits. This means you do not default to “I’m not an Executive Director, so I can’t leverage this relationship, create this partnership, etc.”

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Art of Hosting: Getting Grounded For Our Next Steps

by Kelly Rowan
follow me on Twitter: @kellykay30

"Successful leaders are able to disappoint their followers at a rate they can tolerate." – Ronald Heifetz

Mac Antigua and Bryan Schachtele opened our 2011 YNPN Twin Cities’ board retreat with these interesting words from Ronal Heifetz. Not the jolt of inspiration you might expect a facilitator to use to get a group of board members riled up, but it was exactly what we needed to ground us in the reality of some of our tough challenges ahead. With that said, we have much to be optimistic and enthusiastic about (stay tuned)!

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Leading Beyond Limits: Takeaways from the Nonprofit Leadership Conference

by Chris Oien and Kelly Rowan
follow us on Twitter: @coien and @kellykay30

This past Tuesday, YNPN Twin Cities was pleased to co-sponsor the 2011 Nonprofit Leadership Conference, which brought together 450 of our peers around the theme of "Leading Beyond Limits". While this platform set the stage for timely content to help us all be more nimble, resourceful, innovative and resilient in our work, there was an equally healthy dose of encouragement toward defining healthy boundaries as leaders in our communities

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