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    Leadership is about what you DO!

    “Leadership is action, not position.” — Donald H. McGannon, Former CEO, Westinghouse Broadcast Corporation

    Whether you are the board president, the rabbi, rosh yeshiva, CEO — or hold any title that makes people site up and take notice, remember what people really want and need from you — your commitment to roll up your sleeves and participate in a meaningful way.

    I believe that most of us have two fundamental needs, regardless of our role in the organization — the need to benefit and the need to contribute. In fact, when I teach sessions on running effective meetings, those are the two criteria for determining who should attend a meeting. If a meeting participant will neither benefit from nor contribute to a meeting, then give them back their time to do something more useful than sit in on a meeting! Trust me — he or she will thank you for it, and your meeting participants will appreciate a leaner, more focused meeting process.

    Those in Jewish organizational leadership positions often benefit from title, position, status, connections, and paycheck for those in paid positions (and yes, I see you — the one eye-rolling about the idea of benefiting from a Jewish organizational paycheck. But I won’t let you distract me!).

    Here’s the question: does your level of contribution — decisions made, problems solved, resources developed — meet or exceed the benefits you receive from your position? How would your lay or professional counterparts and direct reports answer that if asked about you?

    If you’re not sure, are you willing to ask? If you’re willing to ask, who will you start with? If you’re not willing, why?

    In the words of writer Elbert Hubbard, “Don’t make excuses. Make good.”

    A Great Way to Use $10,000 That You Don’t Have

    By Guest Maven Beth Steinhorn

    As a nonprofit leader, you likely know many people who are passionate about your mission. You hopefully also know that passionate people are more likely to share their time and talent (not to mention their treasure) with your organization.

    How can you best tap into that passion so that these individuals can be involved in ways that are truly helpful in addressing organizational needs?

    Start by generating a list of organizational needs. What skills or talents would benefit you and your department in achieving your highest priorities?

    If that question is difficult, then try this “$10,000 Question”:

    Imagine that an anonymous donor just contributed $10,000 to your department for the sole purpose of hiring a part time contractor for one project or activity over the next 12 months. Whom would you hire?

    Amazingly, that question really gets the ideas flowing! And, what’s more amazing is that 95% of the time, there are passionate, skilled volunteers in your world who have the skills and interest to take on one of those tasks. Furthermore, they won’t require the $10,000 – though they will require an investment of time and support in developing and nurturing a successful staff-volunteer partnership.

    Here are a few roles that volunteer partners can fulfill:

    • Consultant: Provide professional skills and/or content expertise
    • Coach/Mentor: Share wisdom, advice, and support in a specialty area
    • Trainer: Impart knowledge and understand adult learning
    • Evaluator: Assess results and impact for the purpose of quality improvement
    • Project Manager: Facilitate a process from beginning to end
    • Team Leader: Volunteers leading volunteers and creating team culture

    What type of partner could help you achieve your goals, build your capacity so your job is easier, and make a difference for your organization and community?  Reimagine what partnership can look like… and the possibilities are endless.

    Are you registered for our “Powerful Partnerships: Creating High Impact Staff-Volunteer Partnerships” class?

    If you work with volunteers, you know that the relationship is only as good as your expectations, communications and celebrations. But how much time are you putting into making that work? Whether your answer is “not enough!” or “too much!”, this online course will help you be more strategic and thoughtful in creating mutually satisfying partnerships that last.

    Classes start March 30 reserve your spot by clicking here NOW!

    Split Personality: Are you different at work vs at home?

    I stood in front of the mirror sweating in a 105 degree Yoga studio. It’s the same spot I stand in everyday but today I noticed something different about this spot. The mirror split my body right down the center. I had stood their countless other times but today for some reason I noticed it and it struck me as odd. I’m not sure if the heat was getting to me or the Buddhist motivation the teacher was dishing out but either way I became very philosophical at that moment. My body was split and I realized that I often feel like two different people.
    My personality like so many others is split between home and work.  Work Donna and Home Donna are complete opposites as my spouse often reminds me. Work Donna is decisive, outgoing, a multitasker, budget conscious, a tireless go-getter and extremely private. Home Donna is quiet, wishy-washy and for lack of a better term often lazy. The two never meet except on a very rare occasion and everyone notices it quickly. My spouse first recognizes the voice. Apparently, work Donna’s voice is much different than home Donna. My co-workers notice it when I’m indecisive or share some personal anecdote from home. Both my colleagues and my spouse are quick to point out when the other half of me shows up in the wrong place for good or bad.
    After doing a bit of research, I’ve found that I’m not alone (phew!)  Many people feel their personalities are completely different at work and home. There seems to be multiple reasons for this phenomenon.  For those people in a high powered or stressful job, they may need to recharge when they get home. The same is true if you are an extrovert at work.  Even the most extroverted people, need some downtime. Sometimes, the reason we get a job or are successful in a career is because of our personality characteristic.  For those of us, that work in a non-profit, we know that multitasking is a trait that has to be honed and sharpened and without it we would fail miserably at our jobs.  We are no longer specialists in one area but a jack-of-all-trades in many. Although there is a lot to do at home, my to-do list is more of a checklist than a barrage of people coming at me with needs and wants.  I recognize I don’t have children and I’m sure every mom reading this is shaking her head.
    Take a test like the Myers Brigg two times, once in the frame of reference as you are at home and once as you are at work.  Take a look at the differences and examine what the differences are and ask yourself are they working for you at this time in your life and career?  If you’re really daring, take it to your colleagues and family and see if they agree with how you see yourself.  There’s a lot to be learned from what each of them say.  
    My goal next week when I stand in front of that mirror in the Yoga studio is to not see a body divided but to see different parts of me that work together to make a better human being.
    Are you different at work and at home?  Let me know in the comments below.

    How to Execute a “Go-Around” When At First You Don’t Succeed

    The wheels went down. There I was, ready for landing. The approach was smooth, on a clear blue North Carolina day.  It was an exhausting long trip, 13 hours since I left Buenos Aires. I was sad, coming back from saying a last goodbye to my beloved mother in law. As we were coming down I was contemplating the familiar landscape, with the uncertainty of how I would cope with this loss in the family, and the unfamiliar sense of emptiness.
    Touchdown was only seconds away. Suddenly the aircraft went from a gentle descent to a rapid and sharp climb. Then we heard a calm and reassuring voice: “Folks, we had to abort our approach and we are making a second attempt. The tower just alerted us that we were coming down too steep. We should be on the ground in about 15 minutes” – the captain said.
    Immediately, my head started spinning, always needing to give meaning to everything. I noticed that the pilot had just made me realize that I was coming down “too steep” with my emotions — I was about to crash with my pain! His calm voice, instead, gave me a new chance to control my emotions and try a new approach.
    Of course, I had to share my story with my husband, and he explained that “the maneuver is called go-around, and it represents a routine safety procedure to keep planes out of trouble. It is a precautionary option”, he said. Just as in our personal lives, sometimes we need to make a decision, execute a safe go-around, and choose wisely before we crash!
    Not an ideal situation, but a go-around is meant to be a preventive measure. For pilots, executing this maneuver is quite straightforward, but it requires making a quick decision and focus 100% on the task at hand. It is intense. They have practiced hundreds of these. They are trained to do it safely.
    In life, like in flying, we don’t always make perfect approaches and landings. But think about it, how often do you even consider the option to go-around, embrace the concept of “let’s start over” or “let’s start fresh”?
    When should we execute a go-around? To me, the answer is anytime we feel uncomfortable with any aspect of what we are saying, thinking, doing or delivering. Yes, it might mean starting over, changing gears, trying something new, telling ourselves a different story. During the go-around you are in control, but the alternative is crashing, and it might take a while to recover if you are lucky.
    My flight back home taught me that no matter how close we are, how familiar the landscape is, how big our emotions are or how quickly we want to be done with something, there is always a go-around option that can put us back on track. The earlier we perform a go-around the better, but it is never too late.

    How to Stand up to Bullies at Work (Even if the Bully is your Boss!)




    Growing up in Israel, I recall standing silently and watching a kid in my class whose skin color was darker, being teased by other kids for being “stinky”. Yes, in Israel, the country where thousands of Jews from all over the world who endured the Holocaust and anti-semitic horror and were called “dirty” “evil” and “pigs”, were now having their grandchildren face a similar feeling of being outcasts in the Promised Land.
    They say that kids can be cruel…but unfortunately, these kids also grow up. Those who don’t learn these critical life lessons later enter the workforce with the same mindset that it is ok to treat others poorly.
    I am not proud of being silent in my early school days but I have learned a great deal about standing up to bullies whenever I meet them, and teach my children to do the same…even if the stakes are high.
    I am inspired by Elie Wiesel who said “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.  Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
    So who is a bully? Anyone who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.
    In the workforce, most bullies don’t consider themselves bullies. They may call themselves “very passionate” or “results-oriented at all costs” or “my way or the highway” type managers. In reality they manage by fear, creating a work environment where people have to first look at the boss’s face in the morning, in order to know what kind of day they are about to have…
    Bullies are not just the bosses, they can be our customers too. An outrageously upset customer ready to bite our heads off for a mistake that is out of our control and threaten that if we don’t fix it immediately they will have us fired. They can be our colleagues who send a nasty email and cc the entire office just to humiliate us, or post a comment on Facebook that makes us look bad.
    They can be affluent board members with great intentions but poor people skills and they can also be our employees who hold a grudge over a decision we’ve made and want us to feel their pain in any possible way.
    Let me be clear. Complaining is not the problem (on the contrary: constructive criticism helps us improve our performance). Being results-focused is not the problem either (after all we are a business),  It is how we talk to others and how we release frustration might be the border line to being a bully. Just like we teach our children: if you keep quiet, hoping this will go away by itself or over time, the bullies win!
    So here are a few ideas that you might want to try out, the next time you are facing a situation where you feel you or others have been mistreated by a workplace bully:
    1)  Face your fear. You are not a child anymore and are able to protect yourself and others.  You are stronger than you think and a person of character. Like Viktor Frankl said “everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” So the very first thing to do is..choose to act!
    2)  Face the beast. I believe that we should always try first to deal with the situation one on one. Have a chat with the bully and tell him/her how their behavior impacts you or others. Yes..even if that person is your boss. Often times, they are unaware of the impact they have over people. Always use specific behaviors and be detailed. For example “At the meeting yesterday, when you called me a loser in front of everyone — this is a behavior I will not tolerate..and frankly I don’t think you would either…”  or “I thought Sally was deeply hurt when you raised your voice in an unprofessional way and yelled at her for not doing her job right. I must admit to you this behavior made you look as if you are losing control”.
    3)  Focus on resolutions. Find out what are the triggers that make the bully blow off steam and plan a strategy for dealing with them.
    4)  Find resources. Should the above not help, make sure to keep records of the bullying, document time and events and report it to the HR corporate offices.  Most companies will take your complaint very seriously and will deal with the bully immediately. I’ve known luxury hotels who have asked paying customers to leave property because of bad temper or treating their own staff unprofessionally.
    5)  Have compassion. Understand that some bullies were themselves victims of being treated poorly by their own families, environment or previous bosses. If you choose to act from a compassionate place, they might respond back positively.
    6)  Understand that others might simply be mean.They were mean back at school, and they are mean now in the workplace…often times these people are highly insecure about themselves. Praise yourself for seeing through that and appreciate the good foundation and confidence that you received from your own family and upbringing.
    7) Take a deep breath. A really deep breath. All the way down to your core to allow some time     before you act. Be strategic about your plan: two negatives don’t make a positive.
    8) Find another job. If you have tried everything and nothing seems to help (ex. when the owner or founder is the bully and refuses to change), then know that you’ve done your best and there is no reason for you to spend the rest of your career putting up with this. There are plenty other places that would welcome you and treat you professionally.
    Lastly, remember this “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” by Elie Wiesel.

    “Deb has been a respected speaker and facilitator for a number of our JCC conferences over the past few years. While I've heard about her energy, hard work in preparing, and meaningful content, it took her recent keynote speech at our annual JCCs of North America Professional Conference to make me realize what an incredible asset she is. Watching her present a content-filled, energetic, and personalized session -- without using any notes -- was very impressive. Deb is a multi-talented, serious, and impactful presenter."

    – Allan Finkelstein, Past President and CEO, JCC Association of North America

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