Mold Me

August 2, 2011 at 7:31 am | Posted in Career Moves | Leave a comment
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This past week, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting with the leadership team members of my company, and the President of a major bank.  This was the first of many times I will be sitting in for my boss while she is out on maternity leave.

There was no way to really prep for this meeting, since they wouldn’t give us an agenda, but we tried to prepare.  The thought was that the meeting might be about branding, which is a conversation that couldn’t be had without me (or my boss, if she was available), so we prepared a bunch of documents around this.  All of this was a piece of cake for me, since I had developed these strategies and have been implementing them for the past year and a half.

The thing with funders is that there is always the desire to please them, even if whatever it is that they want is not in line with what the organization’s strategic goals are.  Simply put — the corporate world is different than the non-profit world in many ways.  And more than that, it’s hard to really get to know how an organization operates unless you work for it. So with this in mind, my strategy was to be a good listener, and if any bullets were thrown in my direction, I would let my senior colleagues take them on my behalf.

But that wasn’t necessary.  This man put our team through a very thoughtful exercise in being true to who we are, who we serve, and what we are all about, at the core.  The thing with non-profits, which is in line with trying to make funders happy, is that non-profits have a tendency to try to be everything to everyone.  This issue truly dilutes the message and brand of an organization.

So this lesson in branding wasn’t so much about the promotional aspects of branding, but more about getting the organization’s staff on the same page, speaking the same voice.

It is opportunities like this, when a President of a major company gives you 4 hours of undivided attention, that I think I’ll enjoy the most with the absence of my boss.  These opportunities to be among the thought leaders challenge me to think big picture, think differently, and develop new strategies.   Spending time with these folk will help to mold me into a leader.

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