4 truths for leaders to remember about taking action

As BrightDot works with teams during this Covid-19 period, I encounter more and more hesitancy to take action. It is as if many development professionals are paralyzed by limiting beliefs…reasons this is not the right time to act.  Act meaning engaging with donors, cultivating them through move management, and asking them to invest.  As I have watched during the last 8 months, here are 4 truths every development leader needs to remember.

  • Perfection is the enemy of action!  When a staff member feels that everything they do must be perfect, then the brakes come on that slow and stop action.  Recently with a client we discovered they had a process where 10 different people must read, and edit any email or written piece that goes to donors.  All leaders should know that timeliness is critical.  We have to empower our staff to “own” their responsibilities. Tools like Grammerly should be taught and expected to be used. Our task as leaders is to provide the resources needed to allow our teams to act.
  • Accountability is the key to Board performance.  We often see development teams spending too much effort preparing for and conducting board members with no real impact on fundraising outcomes.  We believe that individuals join your board because of the organization’s mission.  They perform at a high level because of peer pressure…they don’t want to disappoint their fellow board members by not doing what is expected. The problem is that many board members do not know what is expected, and if they do, they are not held accountable for their performance.  Our 7 expectations of board members change those dynamics.  
  • A Must list works.  In my many conversations with top performers I have learned that few of them operate with a to do list. Almost every top performer uses some form of a must list. At BrightDot we call it our Daily High Performance List. Before beginning every day of work you list your four most important task to accomplish in the next 18 hours. You begin the day totally focused on those four tasks.  It is critical when you make your list that below every task you write why this is important.  By doing that you are 75% more likely to accomplish the task.  And your 4th task has to be a personal task. If you would like a copy of what our team uses just e-mail us [email protected].
  • It is all about results.  It is critical that there by defined expectations of every team member. They should identify every six weeks their priorities, and every week report on their progress.  At BrightDot we call this the D3 way of producing fundraising results. It puts every team member on a pathway to high performance. It allows the supervisor to give weekly feedback, celebrate good performance, addressing poor performance before it becomes a habit, and increasing team results. We have become big advocates of success bonus to top performers.  They inspire teams,  they keep top producers from abandoning your ship, and enhance performance.

     Leaders must lead, and as General Hugh Shelton says, leaders must lead without hesitation!

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