Monday, March 31, 2008

Nonprofit Leadership

"(M)y aspiration for this book of reflections is to provide useful advice and counsel to colleagues in the nonprofit sector so they are better equipped to take on more expansive roles in years to come, attract and retain new staff, create better conditions for the growth and development of high-performing nonprofit organizations, and address the big issues of the twenty-first century...The book contains my reflections, doubts, advice, and speculations about a life and career as a nonprofit and CED (community economic development) leader."

I always thought that my various projects would add up to a big thing -- a fascinating and useful puzzle that I was both designing and assembling. But I got lost in the matrices of projects, values, outcomes, and approaches. I finally gave up this quest when I concluded that it wasn't my projects that were the most important story to share -- but how I did the work, what I woke up each day thinking and obsessing about. How I got the work done. What paradoxes of practice did I live with, without ultimate resolution, such as "do no harm?" All of this did not involve an abstract statement of how to do the work in the future, but a reflection on how I actually behaved and did the work in the past -- for better or worse. So, this is what I have to share, and I suspect, it's what a lot of my colleagues in the nonprofit sector and beyond have to share.

1 comment:

Josh said...

"I finally gave up this quest when I concluded that it wasn't my projects that were the most important story to share -- but how I did the work, what I woke up each day thinking and obsessing about."

I like this. It alludes to the fact that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Sometimes the process itself can be more important than the project.

Looking forward to more insights on this.