I can hear him now. At this time of year, my friend will, “Here we go again. Doing what we always do in September.”
For many of us, our work moves in cycles. We just finished what we do in summer, and now it’s fall. After the holidays, we’ll do our winter stuff, and then there’s April and May…sheesh! As we cycle in and out of seasons, we have the opportunity to improve our systems and individual performance.
This is why ONEplace offers Management Track workshop series. These series address skills and processes fundamental to nonprofit management. They also provide opportunities to develop, hone, and refine our individual skills while offering teams opportunities to learn skills together (which improves application and retention).
Recognizing that scheduling is often the barrier to attending professional development events, we’re scheduling more in advance than ever before. Here’s our Management Track schedule for this fall.
Supervision & Management Series – five sessions beginning Sep 14 (more)
Fundraising Series – three sessions beginning Oct 29 (more)
Operations Series – three sessions beginning Nov 2 (more)
Good leaders continually learn new things as well as refine and deepen that which is already known. They travel a track that doesn’t go in circles; rather, it spirals to ever-deeper understanding.
Supervision & Management Series
Paul Knudstrup’s (Midwest Consulting Group) popular series returns with two sections – Monday (A) and Thursday (B).
(A) Sept 14 Job of the Manager – Managing Yourself - 9:15 am-12 pm
(B) Sept 17
(A) Sept 21 Communicating for Results - 9:15 am-12 pm
(B) Sept 24
(A) Sept 28 Building Relationships – Managing Others - 9:15 am-12 pm
(B) Oct 1
(A) Oct 5 Managing Change & Making Effective Decisions - 9:15 am–12 pm
(B) Oct 8
(A) Oct 12 Leading & Empowering – Growing Yourself - 9:15 am-12 pm
(B) Oct 15
Michelle Karpinski (Pretty Lake Camp) teams with ONEplace to provide needed information & guidance for a successful year-end campaign.
Oct 29 Planning Your Year-End Campaign - 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Nov 5 Donor Communications: Cut thru the Noise - 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Nov 12 Donor Recognition: Keep’em Coming Back - 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Thom Andrews (ONEplace Director) provides three processes to transform your organizations practices and internal communications.
Nov 2 Project Management - 9:15 am – 12:00 pm
Nov 9 Decision Making - 9:15 am – 12:00 pm
Nov 16 Problem Solving - 9:15 am – 12:00 pm
This past month’s Inclusion Series wrapped up with Trans*, Gender Non-conforming, & Genderqueer: a workshop for allies. During the 3-hour workshop, we learned terms, context, and explored how to be an effective ally.
Sojn Boothroyd and Amanda Niven reminded us that vocabulary is contextual. Different terms carry different meanings across geographical and generational cultures. That being said, they provided definitions and descriptions for terms used in the workshop:
Trans – abbreviation for transgender
Trans* - an asterisk is sometimes added to the word trans to signify that trans communities are diverse and include many different identities
Transgender – someone who does not identify with the gender assigned to them
CIS gender – someone who identifies with the gender assigned to them
Gender non-conforming – someone whose appearance/identity does not conform to societal standards
Genderqueer – sometimes used to describe someone who defines their gender outside the constructs of male and female. This can include having no gender, being androgynous or having elements of multiple genders.
Nonbinary – someone who identifies outside the gender binary (i.e., male – female)
They cautioned the group that these terms are emerging and there are various viewpoints on their definitions and usage. We should not assume that one person’s words, identity, and definition apply to others. If you are unsure, then ask and be ready to listen.
Finally, we explored the concept of allyship. An ally is a person who helps to advocate for a particular group of people. Allies are knowledgeable about issues and concerns and may help build more supportive climates. They lead from the back, continually questioning themselves and learning as well as taking action to make their workplaces more welcoming.
ONEplace and the Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL) team up to present Kalamazoo Innovative Community Talks or KICtalks on Wednesday, August 26, at 5:30 pm at Kalamazoo Public Library downtown.
The 90-minute event features four brief (5-10’) talks highlighting their innovative efforts to serve and build the greater Kalamazoo community. A reception for enjoying conversation and locally-sourced food follows the talks.
The August 26 event will hear from four innovative efforts:
Children’s expression takes many forms and Read and Write Kalamazoo describes how their empathy centers provide a variety of opportunities for children to authentically express themselves. Utilizing small groups and collaborative adult interaction, they develop a culture where voice, perspective, and identity are valued.
Can Kalamazoo become the most physically fit community of its size in the nation? On the Move Kalamazoo believes it can. They will describe common barriers to movement, specific barriers in Kalamazoo, and their vision for getting us fit.
What does it mean to “be from Kalamazoo?” Remi Harrington of the Urban Folk Art Exploratory shares her fascinating story and will inspire all to seek what you need from our amazing community and claim Kalamazoo as your hometown.
When we talk of education, we rarely talk of educating the parents…as teachers of their children. Seeds for Success, a local affiliate of Parents as Teachers, describes how they collaborate with five area agencies to give kids – and parents – a better chance for success.
Quarterly KICtalk events are open and free to the public. To register, visit www.kpl.gov/ONEplace
The other day I asked Siri:
How do I supervise staff?...she gave me several helpful websites
How do I plan a fundraising campaign?...she gave me several helpful websites
What are best practices for nonprofits on social media?...she gave me several helpful websites
Then, I asked Siri:
Why do I behave the way that I do?...she said, “I don’t know. Frankly, I’ve wondered that myself”
According to Mario Morino (Venture Philanthropy),
"...our problem is not a shortage of ideas, models, knowing what works, or best practices. Instead, it is our failure to execute, deliver what we promise, and convert concepts to sustainable reality."
As we take the lead in our various areas of control and spheres of influence, we must develop the fortitude, resilience, and chutzpah to plant our stake in the ground, hold the tough conversation, and get up when knocked down.
Peer Learning Groups (PLGs) embrace the understanding “…that leadership development is ultimately self-development.” It’s not a series of workshops. It’s a safe space for building self-awareness and attending to your own concerns and development within a supportive, collegial environment.
PLGs meet monthly for 90 minutes over an eight-month period (Sept – April). At each session, you focus, without distraction, on what matters to you: your values and vision, your challenges and fears. You’ll gain greater access to your own wisdom. You’ll connect with others who listen to and encourage each other, and honor each other’s differences.
During each session we will
- Take time to gather and reconnect with one another
- Hear a brief presentation on the day’s material
- Spend time reflecting on and responding to the material, first alone, and then in pairs
- Engage a full group discussion for continued reflection as well as resource sharing
We utilize the Courage to Lead approach developed by the Center for Courage and Renewal (find out more).
We have four initial sessions. Sign up for the one that best fits your situation. Subsequent meeting times may be adjusted. So, if you’re interested but cannot make the first meeting, please register and then email me (ThomA@kpl.gov) to let me know of your conflict.
Everyone needs to be a leader…just not in every situation.
Each of us takes the lead at some time. We take the lead in our own lives. Many of us take the lead in our household. At work, we take the lead in the role we’re given to play.
At ONEplace, we define leadership as
- taking responsibility and ownership of your role(s), which includes
- developing the skills, knowledge, connections and awareness needed to fulfill your role(s)
- listening and learning from others and
- teaching and sharing with others
Our Peer Learning Program provides a disciplined, intensive approach to leader development for managers, supervisors, and directors. It’s also perfect for executive leaders of small organizations.
The Peer Learning Group design helps you become more attuned to your strengths and challenges, engage your own insights and wisdom, build a network of supportive connections, and develop coaching skills. It requires commitment, and it delivers much more.
How it works
Peer Learning Groups meet for eight monthly sessions from September through April. The facilitator guides and participates in each session.
The basic 90’ session agenda includes a brief introduction to the day’s topic, time to explore the topic on your own, focused discussion in pairs, and a full group discussion and resource-sharing. Learning occurs as each participant pursues their own path to effective performance and job satisfaction. Together, we create a welcoming and open space to work on our own leadership issues within the supportive context of colleagues who are doing the same thing.
Within the discussions, we listen carefully and engage our curiosity, imagination, and inspiration through asking open, honest questions. The questions create space for a substantial conversation that doesn’t judge or try to fix but allows each person to find what they need within a confidential environment.
Groups start in September and space is limited. For more information, attend one of our information sessions on Thursday, August 13 or Tuesday, August 18, or contact the ONEplace Director at ThomA@kpl.gov.
Last week, Michele McGowen and Dale Abbot of the Disability Network of Southwest Michigan presented a Management Track workshop on Creating Accessible Content. During the session, we heard not only the importance of having content accessible via print, screen, and audio, but some how-to helps as well.
Our first thought of accessible content often goes to print – large print or braille. Surprisingly, only 7% of those who are blind or low-vision know braille, so they recommended not running out and getting braille versions of your print materials until you know the need. Also, while “large print” is often defined as 18 point font, it’s good to ask the person requesting accommodation what size font they need.
In fact, asking the person requesting accommodation what would work best for them is often a good idea. For example, while some who identify as blind would like large print, others may prefer electronic versions to use with screen readers.
When working with print, Dale made several basic suggestions: use plain san serif fonts, ensure high contrast of print to background (best is black and white), use color to highlight rather than to communicate importance, and avoid busy backgrounds.
Michele and Dale offered other suggestions relative to print as well as website development, social media, slide presentations, and video captioning. They encouraged organizations to take first or next steps toward inclusion. Include statements such as, “This document is available in alternative format upon request” or “To request an accommodation, contact ___ at ___.” Just be sure you can deliver on what you promise.
Their bottom line was to move toward inclusion, do your best, and learn from your mistakes.
Creating Accessible Content was the first of three workshops in our Inclusion Series. Additional workshops include Immigration 101 on August 5 and Trans*, Gender Non-Conforming, and Genderqueer: A Workshop for Allies on August 12.
Struck dumb by the size and airiness of the Arcus Center's atrium, I tentatively approached the right side of the room, which is bordered by floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase a neat array of tall maple trees. I sat in one of the brightly colored chairs arranged in a circle and craned my neck to read some of the phrases printed on the back wall--"curious creatures" and "things like locusts" jumped out. By then I had a hunch that I had entered a transformative space.
I was right. That night I attended a training at Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership called Trans*, Genderqueer, & Gender Non-Conforming: A Workshop for Allies. In just over three hours I and about 50 others (primarily Kalamazoo College students) participated in a variety of interactive activities and discussions. Two hours into the training, several people of different gender identities spoke about aspects of their identity and experience, and that's when the transformative piece clicked. The participants engaged in a radical act: listening. We embodied allyship by giving attention and time to community members who rarely have a platform to be heard.
That act, just listening, might be the right first step. When working with issues around which there is little widely-available, trustworthy information, I think this is the best approach to learning. Implementation is critical, but can nonprofits be expected to make thoughtful, studied practical decisions without first listening?
Join us at ONEplace for our new Inclusion Series, which focuses on how nonprofits can make our workplaces and services more inclusive. There will be plenty of opportunities for listening. Creating Accessible Content will kick-off the series on July 21. Immigration 101 is August 5, and Trans*, Gender Non-Conforming, & Genderqueer: A Workshop for Allies will take place August 12.
In last week’s NEWSletter article I mentioned being on retreat with several of our nonprofit colleagues. We gathered Wednesday evening and worked together through Friday noon, pilot testing a service we’re considering for ONEplace. While I’m still pulling together all that I learned, I can tell you this:
It was a moment for me.
As we entered our time together on Wednesday, I marveled at what I saw. Here I was in a familiar environment. I had been on retreat at this venue several times. And, here I was with people I knew. I had worked with almost everyone there. However, these had been two different worlds for me, and now they were coming together. More than that…
It was a fulfillment of a two-year plan, a two-year vision.
Various strands of activity over the past two years were slowly woven together to arrive at this moment – and the impact hit me square in the chest. Yet, it was different.
I’ve worked on long-term projects before. In a previous job, I led a four-year effort that culminated in five regional conferences at sites all across the country. I recall the moment when we closed the fifth conference and headed for the airport. It was a sense of completion, achievement, and success.
While holding a sense of fulfillment, this recent moment pointed more to the future than the past. It was like finally cresting the hill to see the green valley below. Yes, we made it up the hill, and now the fun work begins.
So, I offer my thanks to those who participated in the retreat and to those supervisors and colleagues who supported their participation. It was a moment to treasure.
And, we’ve only just begun.
When this email arrives in your inbox, I’ll be on retreat with a several others. Called Courage to Lead, this retreat creates space for each person to relax, rest, and listen to the quiet voice of their own wisdom.
I cherish these times.
For the past two years, I’ve been on retreat at least once every quarter. It’s an opportunity to declutter, recharge, and reconnect with what’s important. It helps me align my deeply held values with my actions and activities…to merge soul and role.
It’s also something I can carry with me. The retreat works on the principles of the Circle of Trust as developed by the Center for Courage and Renewal in Seattle. These principles (e.g., extend hospitality, listen deeply, ask open honest questions, maintain confidentiality) can be carried and practiced outside the retreat center – in the home, in the workplace…anywhere. And yet...
their power is greatest on retreat – in a community of solitudes.
You know this. You’ve experienced the synergy of several people working together. Each has his/her own unique task or challenge, but the energy of everyone doing their work creates a spirit that motivates and sustains. It’s awesome and invigorating.
This week’s retreat is a pilot for ONEplace. We’ll evaluate the experience and plan how to move forward from here. I anticipate other Courage & Renewal experiences to come through ONEplace in the near future.