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A blog for nonprofit leaders featuring fresh voices, perspectives, strategies, and news about the relational work of fundraising that inspires abundant, sustainable, and meaningful philanthropy.

  • Otto Reinisch

Pandemic Update: Turning Chaos Into Meaningful Growth

In the beginning – in the earliest days of the pandemic – it’s what needed to happen. Decisions were made quickly. Roles and responsibilities shifted. Strategic plans were put on hold. After all, life was chaotic and the future uncertain.

As nonprofit organizations adapted to a new reality, they became something different over time. Without grounded leadership, however, the danger was – and still is – in the organization becoming something its leaders never intended.

Today, the best nonprofit leaders are looking back at the pandemic’s beginnings and asking, “How did our organization get to where it is today? What guided our decision-making? Were we true to our values? Is our mission relevant? Are we?”

Self-reflection helps leaders answer these essential questions...and more. It also gives them the opportunity to do meaningful work by taking time to identify and act on powerful values shared by them, their organization, and its stakeholders.

Self-reflection is the key to identifying what you stand for, what your values are, and what matters most. Self-reflection enhances leadership by helping you become more aware of the decisions you make, as well as the likely outcome and implications of them.” – Harry M. Jansen Kraemer, Jr., From Values to Action

Our shared values, even more than strategy, are the roadmap and guardrails that shape organizations. Like a “north star” they guide us with purpose toward a meaningful destination. Imagine living your own life unaware of deeply held values. How would you make important decisions? Set priorities? Measure success?

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” – Lewis Carroll

Self-reflection is where we begin to explore and test our values but it’s a process that doesn’t happen on its own. It requires thoughtful introspection, a willingness to grow into something better, and – most of all – time. Each of these are threatened by a digital age of constant distractions and the unprecedented demands on nonprofit leaders in these trying times.

Next week I’ll look at practical ways everyone can reclaim the power of self-reflection to become the values-based leader your organization needs to thoughtfully, purposefully guide it into an uncertain future.

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