In my last blog I shared that I’ve been chatting with lots of non-profit Executive Directors. Over the past two weeks I’ve continued these conversations, and there’s something I’m hearing from them that’s got me all fired up.
It goes something like this …
“I absolutely see the value in developing myself and my staff as leaders, but we just don’t have the money for it.”
“You know how it is, when our budget gets cut, training is always the first thing to go.”
Now, before I go any further, let me just say – I get it. I’ve been an ED when the money was tight. And what budget line did I cut? Staff development. Because I labeled things like coaching, training, and team development as “nice-to-haves.” We could deliver our mission without it.
So, like many non-profits, we spent minimal dollars on staff development, and maximum dollars on programs. Because we thought that money spent on anything but programs was money taken away from the mission. And, like many organizations, we struggled with employee morale, turnover, and productivity. And what suffered the most? Our mission.
Imagine two organizations.
The first is led by an Executive Director who feels both challenged and supported in her role. Every week she works with a coach to reflect on how she’s doing, to pick apart challenging situations, and to take action towards being a more effective leader. She brings the insights and energy she gains from coaching to her organization and her team.
The second is led by an Executive Director who feels challenged and overwhelmed in her role. Every week she intends to make time for the bigger picture, but she is constantly fighting fires and can’t conceivably add something else to her plate. She brings the stress and internal chaos she feels into her organization and her team.
What kind of advantage would the first have over the second, and what is that worth to your organization?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!