Over the years, some of my most rewarding work has simply been listening to environmental leaders talk through the challenges that they face, from the simple to the intricate. Executive directors and others in crucial positions often find that they really can’t share a difficult issue with staff or board before they’ve worked it out themselves.
Mostly I listen and try to put challenges in perspective. I ask questions like:
To what extent is the difficulty a result of the organization’s organic growth? In other words, maybe what appears as a personality conflict is really a natural result of the organization’s success and expansion?
What insights do you get by considering it from a different frame – say, taking a human-relations approach, or a structural one?
What does the difficulty reflect in you, and the learning that you have to do now?
I rarely offer hard prescriptions – although in some cases answers can be pretty clear, and when they are I share them.
Effective leaders usually develop a network of supporters, and get input from many different sources. If you’d like to try out an issue with me, give me a call at (301) 657-8121. We can set up a free initial consultation, which may be all you need.
"Over my years at the Ohio Environmental Council, I attended many of Baird's workshops. We often talked, when he would ask me for feedback or when I wanted advice or just a good listener. His counsel was solid. He has a good grasp of the structures and processes that make a nonprofit work, and of the political realities within it. What was probably most helpful was his ability to listen and reflect my different choices back to me, in a way that helped me step back from the crisis of the moment and see my choices in terms of the development of my organization, and in terms of my own path in life." – Vicki Deisner, former Executive Director of the Ohio Environmental Council, now Advisor for Environmental Policy at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources