A funny thing happened to me the other day. A trustee of an influential foundation asked me how our business helps non-profits achieve excellence in leadership. I was really pleased to get this question, because most often I simply get the proverbial “what do you do?” question.
I thought to myself, “Wow! Here’s my chance to really share with someone who’s influential how my company helps non-profits develop a truly ‘reproducing’ leadership culture!”
I then proudly:
• Described our methodology (our firm helps instill a culture of reproducing leaders with a bias toward “optimal” action)
• Shared how Intentional Impact works with Executive Directors and Boards to create shared objectives – with measurable outcomes (shock!)
• Explained how our firm propels clarity in non-profits’ vision and strategy so they can close the gap between what they say they’re going to do (strategy) and what they actually do (execution) [ever notice this chasm?]
My conversation partner waited politely and, at the appropriate pause, asked, “Do you teach non-profits how to properly write grants?”
That’s when it hit me. Most of us do not truly engage in the art of listening. We politely wait for a gap in the conversation to say (or ask) what we want to next.
So, as I fought back feelings of rejection and retracted my self-supplied high-five, I tried to answer the Trustee’s question differently:
“We put leaders in the unique position to create more leaders – all around them – ensuring that the best person writes the right grant and that funds are being put to the best use.”
I was sure I said, “We improve the odds of success with the money you provide and leave them with independent skills in how to lead differently,” and not “what to do about grants and how to write them.”
The response? “I see . . . so then, you help them write better grants?”
So I punted – because, no, we are not in the grant-writing-training-bidniz.
Nor should we be.
What we do is help leaders develop a thriving culture of leaders – everywhere.
Ever been in this situation? You answer the question, but there’s a disconnect. Who wasn’t listening?
In my next post – I’ll unpack my thoughts on this, but what are yours?
I said, “WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS SUBJECT?” [heh heh]
Jump in – tell me your point of view. I want your opinion, so don’t be shy!