Working for a Good Cause

It happened again. The mayor who welcomed and introduced our team of presenters assumed the majority of those in attendance at the workshop were volunteers because they represented non-profit organizations and were interested in our topic of community building. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am extraordinarily respectful of volunteers.  I come from a long line of them and have done a lot of volunteering myself over the years.  However, I found myself bristling when yet another, albeit good meaning, individual assumed the non-profit sector was only about volunteers when in fact the majority of those in the audience were… More Posted on 01-25-10

Playing with the Rules

I just spent two days in a marathon planning session and was left rattled by a rather unexpected revelation.  Could it be that planning is fun?

If you’d asked me for adjectives to describe a closeted two day weekend with board, committee members and staff, fun probably wouldn’t have made the top ten list of adjectives. The reality however was that it was quite enjoyable. There was spirited discussion, disagreements, and ultimately some breakthrough thinking and productive results.

For me, and perhaps others, it was due in part to what author Jerry Hirshberg calls “creative abrasion”. In his book,… More Posted on 01-17-10

On Being a Trend Watcher

Poets can be wrong. Some 250 years ago Thomas Gray wrote “Where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise”.  I’m not buying it. These days ignorance is not bliss. Given the current pace of change, being ignorant is more likely to be a risky business.

By way of example, I recently had a conversation with a senior administrator in a small Ontario municipality who had been invited to take a leadership role in facilitating the involvement of residents in a community-wide strategic plan. The employee instead chose to opt-out, as he wasn’t comfortable in the role. Whereas he… More Posted on 01-11-10