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Twitter Time at ONEplace

In the spirit of practice what you teach, we’ve taken a deliberate, strategic approach to Twitter. We carefully considered several questions, including:

 

  • What are the benefits of using Twitter relative to other social media platforms?
  • What presence do we want to establish?
  • What’s the best balance of original tweets, retweets, and promotional tweets?
  • Who do we want to follow…and why?

 

Over the past several weeks, we’ve documented our experience online as well as off, and examined how to use Twitter as a metric for larger program goals, and how adding this effort affects our workload and schedules.

We’ve learned a lot. Lolita has been driving the effort and she presents her research, cases from local organizations, experience, and insights in Twitter Time for Kzoo Nonprofits on February 10.

We invite you to attend to learn, share, and see how Twitter may fit into your personal or organizational communications efforts.


Coffee with Steve Springsdorf

This month we visit with Steve Springsdorf, Executive Director of the YMCA, as he tells of capitalizing on opportunities, staying focused, and prioritizing relationship-building.

Tell us how you got to where you are today (positions held, career shifts, etc)

Mine is partially a story of being in the right place at the right time. I graduated from MSU with a degree in Environmental Education. I couldn’t find a teaching job, but I student taught in Saginaw and the Y Exec Dir. was on the school board, saw my resume and offered me a job. I took it until I could find a teaching job. I became the Asst. Camp Director the next year until the Camp Director quit two weeks into the season. After 9 years as the Camp Director, the CEO retired. I applied and became one of the youngest YMCA CEO’s in the country. I directed the Saginaw Y for 14 years when I was invited to apply to become the CEO of the State YMCA in Central Lake, MI. It was a very different experience for me, no main building, primarily residence camps, a unit in Petoskey and a state wide Youth in Government program. The camps served families not only across the country but also internationally. This job gave me a much broader perspective of how we can influence youth. After 8 years I was invited to be the CEO at the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo in 2008 where I continue to serve.

What do you most love about the Kalamazoo community? 

I love the pride that people have in the community, I love the diversity of people and thought, I love vibrant downtown in Kalamazoo and the strong shopping area in Portage, I love the variety of restaurants and brewery’s; finally I love how there is so much energy to make our community better.

What guides or principles do you rely most upon?

Basically, if you keep doing the right thing, good things will happen and treat people as you would want to be treated.

Who was one of your mentors and what do you carry with you from that relationship?

My first boss was a huge influence in my career. He was a man of strong conviction, he held people accountable, but he also was a strong advocate and supporter of staff development, both in training and in challenging you to be better. He felt that being a nonprofit didn't mean you were less responsible or business minded than for-profit businesses.

What has been one of your biggest learning moments?

If you have someone working for you that is either not performing or doesn’t fit with the organization then make a change sooner than later. Attempting to be nice only prolongs the inevitable and isn’t helpful to the staff or the organization.

What’s an average day like for you at work?

I wish I had an average day. I begin with reading two newspapers, handle emails, check in with staff to see if there are areas I can help with; communicate with my board and other partners; building relationships is a big part of what I do. Finally, I have projects I am working on in the areas of organizational improvement, fundraising, and program directions.

What are the types of challenges/opportunities that keep you up at night?

We are in the midst of a capital campaign so concerns about donors and volunteers are on my mind. The other area is motivating and managing my staff; these are the people who make our Y successful.

How do you stay up-to-date on latest trends in your field?

I read two newspapers a day, I visit our professions websites, but most importantly, I network and talk with my peers on a regular basis. I try to stay involved on state and national levels.

What advice do you have for those wishing to have a long lasting career in the nonprofit sector?

Stay fresh, stay challenged, and stay focused on what is important – the mission of your organization, how are you impacting the lives of the people your organization touches. Keep your eye open for opportunities, but build your career on results.

What hobbies or outside interests do you enjoy?

I am an avid reader and enjoy a good game of golf, wish I had one. Recently, my wife and I have been traveling and camping around Michigan.


What's in your locket?

I have a professional question for you: What’s in your locket?

A locket is a small pendant that includes a space for storing a small keepsake, e.g., a photo of a loved one. Worn on a necklace or bracelet, this charm holds a cherished item, and the wearer often opens it to be reminded of one so near to their heart.

So, what’s in your locket (real or imaginary)? Besides being a twist on a popular ad campaign (thanks, Capital One), it’s a relevant question for anyone who wants to enjoy their work. Job satisfaction – and effectiveness – is directly related to the laser-like alignment of your deeply held values, personal passions (loves), and outward actions and abilities.

Jim Collins calls it a Hedgehog Concept. Simon Sinek calls it his Golden Circle. Steven Covey calls them habits. Patrick Lencioni has a pyramid. And Peter Drucker posed them as six critical questions. While each of these authors (and several others) adds his own contribution to the discussion, they all build off of this place of inner-outer alignment.

Yet, while many write about it, few of us are so aligned. Like an aching back, painful barbs shoot through our activities and discourse. And we’re left feeling out of sorts.

This chiropractic conundrum of misalignment is often more intrapersonal than interpersonal. Few of us take the time to listen to our true selves (our inner voice) and understand our deeply held values and personal passions. Instead, many align with an external set of expectations packaged and presented as an appealing alternative to our dissatisfaction.

One of Simon Sinek’s (Start with Why) contributions to this discussion is the idea that people align with others who believe what they believe. He says it this way: “We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe.”

So, we need to open our lockets and peer inside to that which we hold dear and then find the words to speak it clearly to ourselves, our families, our organizations and community. Take some time – quiet, reflective time – to listen and learn from yourself.

My guess is this: once we align ourselves to the most important things in our lives, we’ll find that interpersonal (also intergenerational, interracial, intercultural) alignment comes much easier.

Best,

Thom


Didn't see that coming

It’s not uncommon to be surprised by people and events. When you least expect it, a situation arises, a problem occurs, or a discussion ensues that throws you for a loop. It’s not something you’ve ever dealt with before, and you’re not sure what to make of it…what to do about it.

You’re not alone.

Everyone – even a seasoned executive – encounters a baffling challenge from time to time. Try as we might, we can’t seem to figure it out. We need to get some distance, some perspective on the matter.

That’s why ONEplace offers direct assistance services.

We’re prepared to listen, inquire, and help you come to grips with your new challenge or concern. Depending on the nature of the concern, we may have suggestions, resources, or recommendations of actions to take or people to consult.

Don’t let a festering issue hold you back. We’re here to be at your service. 

Best,

Thom


Let your efforts be known

Are you one of the many area residents who engage unique, innovative, even wild efforts making Kalamazoo a great place live and work? We believe you need a forum to be heard, so we’re launching Kalamazoo Connect.

Kalamazoo Public Library and ONEplace unite to spotlight dynamic community building efforts in Greater Kalamazoo. Each quarter, Kalamazoo Connect features three short presentations on innovative, engaging endeavors followed by an opportunity for informal discussions and networking. Locally-sourced refreshments will be served following the presentations.

Interested? Your presentation will be given in a TED-talk style – open-stage speaking with optional use of notecards. Your presentation must be a minimum of 5 minutes and cannot exceed 10 minutes. You may use audio-visuals if you wish. (For examples, visit www.ted.com.)

Here’s how you can tell Kalamazoo about your innovative, community building efforts.

1. Submit your entry by emailing your name, phone number, name of organization or business, and description of talk (approximately 100 words) to ONEplace@kpl.gov. Entries are due by 5pm on Friday, January 23

2. Applicants will be notified by Tuesday, January 27

3. Participate in a rehearsal of your talk during the week of Feb 2 (by appointment)

4. Accepted applicants must attend and speak at the Kalamazoo Connect event on Wednesday, February 11, 5-6:30 pm

If you have any questions, please contact ONEplace 269-553-7910 or ONEplace@kpl.gov.

Best,

Thom


Management Track gains traction

ONEplace’s workshop attendance jumped 74% during the last six months of 2014 (compared to same time last year). The huge increase was driven in large part by our new Management Track.

Launched in September 2014, our Management Track includes workshops targeted to managers, executive staff and board members. Events address critical issues, skill development and processes related to delegation, communication, decision making, board development, project management, coaching and more.

Management skills develop continually throughout one’s career. Everyone, regardless of experience level, benefits from refreshing their understanding and assessing their skills in these areas.

Upcoming Management Track workshops include:

Jan 20 – 3 Steps to Improve your Board (Better Board Series)

Jan 22 – Project Management

Jan 27 – Stronger Boards: Recruitment, Onboarding & Retention (Better Board Series)

Feb 17 – Board Membership 101

Feb 25 – Emergency Action Planning

Mar 17 – Coaching for Breakthrough Performance

All events are free of charge and open to nonprofit staff, board members, and volunteers. Registration is required.


Take the Lead

At ONEplace, this marks the midpoint of our three-year plan (July 2013 – June 2016). Leadership development is job ONE stands as one of three pillars of this plan. Here’s an update on this pillar’s progress to date and direction for the coming year.

This past fall, we arrived at our working definition of leadership: taking full responsibility and ownership of your role(s); listening and learning from others, and; teaching and sharing with others. We’re expanding our intensive experience offerings to facilitate development of this type of leadership. 

The ONEplace Nonprofit Leadership Academy offers an intensive development experience for those in supervisory roles at medium to large organizations. Our Peer Learning Groups provide this experience for managers, supervisors, and directors of small to medium organizations. Later this winter/spring, we’ll introduce a retreat experience suitable for anyone wishing to explore their leadership capacity.

We’re also in the midst of pilot testing coaching services for new executive directors within their first year of service. Expect a formalized program to roll out later this year.

Also, expect things to change…hopefully for the better. This continues to be a work in progress for us as we seek to provide an array of events and experiences to meet your and your organization’s leadership development needs.


Our top events in 2014

In the spirit of year-end reflections, we decided to share our Top Ten lists. Recognizing that people vote with their attendance and with their post-session evaluations, we did two lists. Therefore, based upon your evaluations and attendance, here are your top workshops from 2014 (notice ties in both lists).

By evaluation

1. Improve Your Short Writing (4/29/14) 99%

1. Improvising Management (Management Track – 10/30/14) 99%

1. Find Solutions – Solve Problems (Management Track – 11/4/14) 99%

4. How much should a Website Cost (3/6/14) 98%

5. How to Win Grants (4/17/14) 97%

6. Manage by Improvisation (1/24/14) 96%

6. Better Mail Appeals (3/26/14) 96%

6. Google Analytics (4/10/14) 96%

6. Grant Research Tools (6/10/14) 96%

6. Attaining Sustainability (8/26/14) 96%

6. Grant Writing Basics (12/2/14) 96%

6. Improve Your Decision Making (Management Track – 12/4/14) 96%

By attendance

1. Community Alignment (Leadership Series – 10/16/14) 44

2. Communicating for Results (Supervision Series 2 – 9/22/14) 39

3. Job of a Manager (Supervision Series 1 – 9/15/14) 37

4. Building Relationships (Supervision Series 3 – 9/29/14) 36

4. Managing Change (Supervision Series 4 – 10/6/14) 36

6. Leading & Empowering (Supervision Series 5 – 10/13/14) 35

7. Building a Cohesive Team (8/27/14) 34

8. Grant Writing Basics (3/18/14) 32

9. Grant Writing Basics (9/11/14) 29

10. Donor Recognition (Fundraising Series 3 – 10/23/14) 28

Thank you for all you do to support, encourage and enrich our community. You’re amazing people doing amazing work.

All the best for 2015!

Thom

* Management Track and Series designations were introduced in September


Hitting Pause

With New Year’s Eve just hours away, I again find myself at an intersection. In addition to being the calendar year end, it’s also the second quarter close of our fiscal year. And, as a holiday week, it’s a time of less (or different) activity.

I like these times. It’s an opportunity to look back and look forward, to evaluate and adjust, to celebrate and to anticipate.

In his book, Traction, Gino Wickman draws upon the work of Patrick Lencioni and others and recommends that top management gather off-site every 90 days to review the previous quarter and finalize priorities for the coming quarter. Why every 90 days? He says, “The 90-day idea stems from a natural phenomenon – that human beings stumble, get off track, and lose focus roughly every 90 days.”

Wickman cites examples of this phenomenon at work, and I could add a few examples of my own. While it’s easy to casually nod in agreement, I shudder at his observation that human beings “lose focus roughly every 90 days,” because…

…we cannot afford to lose focus.

Lost focus wastes time and energy, dilutes the purpose of the organization, confuses funders and donors, frustrates staff and volunteers, and eventually leads to all sorts of crises. As leaders of our teams, departments, and organizations, maintaining focus is at the top of our list of responsibilities.

So, take some time – a half- or full-day – every quarter to hit the Pause button and keep yourself and your team on track. It will save you time, increase your service quality, and promote job satisfaction.

Best,

Thom


Leggo my ego

I enjoy basketball. While some individual players stand out, it’s the performance of the team that decides the game: working together, anticipating each other’s moves, and sharing the spotlight. Sure it takes practice, but it takes more than practice.

It takes trust.

On a team, trust means…

 

  • You hold one another accountable without assigning blame
  • You willingly give and receive extra efforts without keeping track
  • Knowing that the team has your back, you take risks without guilt
  • You communicate openly and directly with your teammates without fear

 

…and you do it all for your mission…for your cause.

Being on a team requires us to extend beyond ourselves. In our recent workshop on Mindfulness in the Workplace, Eric Nelson provided a compelling research- and case-based argument for mindfulness practice. The benefits were so varied and plentiful, I finally asked, “What’s the downside?” Without hesitation, he responded, “It challenges your identity.”

Mindfulness practice makes us face our assumptions and how they often differ from others’ assumptions. It chips away at our ego and helps us recognize how much we need each other to achieve better understanding as well as better performance. By letting go of our need to be right, we free ourselves to be correct. We free ourselves to trust.

I’ve written before on ways to build trust. Yet, these efforts falter when individuals stay wedded to their own assumptions and agendas. The more we understand ourselves and let go of our own egos, the more we open ourselves to trust our teammates. And that’s a step we must take on our own.

The ball is in your court.

Best,

Thom