One of the most infuriating answers I ever received to any question is a simple one. Years after I first heard it, I became a consultant… and then I began to use these words (pretty frequently, I admit) to answer the questions I was now being asked.
Two little words, packed with potential meanings galore. It. Depends.
In truth, I’m not playing devil’s advocate when I answer a question from a client or workshop participant this way. It usually is my version of saying “I’m not sure I have enough information to answer that. Tell me more.”
You see, I don’t always know enough about the context the organization is operating within to answer that question. Since so much of this business is meeting people where they’re at, I’m seeking to understand more about where that really is.
After almost 2 years of pivoting, many business leaders are still finding themselves amid increasing uncertainty. How do we plan in the middle of this? How do we keep our employees safe, happy and sane?
For nonprofit and small businesses it can be particularly difficult: How can we keep people engaged in our mission? What will do if we lose funding? How will we keep volunteers interested in our work when there’s so much going on in their lives? Even once simple things like shaking hands or meeting in-person have come into question, impacting all we do to build connection to our work.
Below are three fairly common questions I get asked that most often find me answering “It Depends.”
How do we hold our board members accountable?
It depends on… your governance policies, your bylaws, your leadership, your tolerance for difficult conversations. Notice this is never a should we hold them accountable but how. SO many things can go into board service, particularly when you’re a board chair, committee chair and being tasked with holding volunteers accountable for well, volunteering. It really does depend on what the agreed upon operating procedures are at the board level; and if you don’t have agreed-upon procedures – that’s the first place to start.
Looking for resources on governance check out our Downloads and Helpful Links on our website for more checklists and tools to create greater accountability practices. We also recommend BoardSource our go-to for all things nonprofit governance.
Can we fire a volunteer?
It depends on… your volunteer management. Your written policies and procedures about expectations including commitment, position description and lanes of authority. Let’s also be clear, “firing” is a pretty harsh word… if I were to ask that question in a more diplomatic consultant-speak sort of way: In what way could we find better use for this volunteer and their talents?
Looking to up your volunteer management skills? Check out the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay’s Volunteer Management Certificate or Volunteer Florida’s Volunteer Engagement series. Both have great resources and research on volunteer motivation, management and engagement.
How are you doing?
It depends… on who’s asking the question. On if I think that person really wants to hear how I’m REALLY doing today or some plain version of how I’m really doing. On if this person says “how you doing?” as a Friends-from-Joey kind of greeting, a common way to say “hello” or is really asking to hear my answer. Let’s be honest, it also depends on how my day is really going. There have been lots of hard days and lots of times I’ve been asked these four words that I don’t really know how to answer OR don’t want to recount my whole day again.
What ways can you ask this question of a colleague or peer – and then hold space for their honest answer? If you’re looking to lean into connection with your team, we’ve got your covered! Contact us today to learn how our interactive retreats (virtual & in-person) can help you do just that. Looking for something right away? Read The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stainier.
What are your “it depends” questions to answer these days? Where do you find yourself or your team most struggling?
Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to learn more about how we can help you become a more courageous & authentic leader through coaching, self-care, and leadership development.
Is your board or senior leadership grappling with strategic planning during these challenging times? Are you a nonprofit looking to strategize with your leadership in the “new normal”?
Join us October 27th for a virtual workshop featuring our Behind the Curtain Series: How do we plan for THIS? What does planning look like NOW? We’ll be showcasing strategic planning experts to share their thoughts on planning amidst extended crises, compassion fatigue and unexpected occurrences. Register here – First 25 registrants are FREE.
Are you a nonprofit organization in the Tampa Bay area interested in hearing more about how your leadership can evolve to meet the demands of the ever-changing landscape?
If so, register today for the November 10th Rivero Gordimer’s Nonprofit Appreciation Event where Liz will be speaking on this very topic.
Are you looking for a dynamic and engaging speaker for your next conference?
Book Liz today by contacting her at email@example.com. Keynote topics include: Courageous Leadership, Owning Your Entrepreneur, Somehow I Manage, & Shame(less): Surviving Self-Judgement & Maximizing Self-Care.
About the Author: Liz Wooten-Reschke is President/CEO of Connect For More. She engages leaders and empowers philanthropists by sharing resources to help them exceed their mission. Liz provides executive coaching, strategic facilitations and customized solutions for all sector leaders, philanthropists, consultants and rising stars interested in making a difference in their communities. She is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator, BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer and a professional member of the National Speakers Association. Liz is also a proud member of the University of South Florida Alumni Association Board, a fourth-generation Floridian and Key West Conch. She lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, their blended family circus, their dog & cat. For more information about Liz or her work, please visit her company website, follow her on Twitter, or visit her Amazon author page.