In my efforts to grow professionally, I have spent time researching other nonprofit blogs.  I am looking forward to referencing and commenting on these other posts.  For today, I will focus on a recent blog by Tera Wozniak Qualls – entitled “How not saying “Its always been done this way” will help you grow.”

To developing nonprofit leaders, Tera recommends challenging the status quo.  She details her suggestions:

“Asking questions in large groups…Starting a project with a community organization that hasn’t been done before…Encouraging other emerging leaders to speak up at work and in the community…And challenging the leader that has always led. (Be sure to pick your battles wisely)”

Tera’s point is certainly well-taken.  A diversity of perspectives often lead to a better decision – absolutely.  But, we must also recognize that this can be a difficult process…

The responsibilities lies with each individual to share his/her thoughts with the group and to respect others’ perspectives.  The leadership also has a responsibility to encourage a diversity of thought and to provide opportunities for the exchange of ideas.

Workplace infrastructure can encourage people to share new ideas.  Here’s the beginnings of a check-list; do you invite others to challenge the status quo?

  • Is there a way to provide general feedback on organizational operations?
  • Are there routine requests for employees to review particular programs, activities, and initiatives?
  • Do you survey your various constituency groups and integrate findings into operations?
  • Do you have an “open door” policy?
  • Do you actively seek out others’ opinions?
  • Do you encourage different departments to work together?
  • Do you create project teams comprised of different types of workers – by work style, perspective, strengths, weaknesses, etc.?

What other questions should be included this list?  Please leave a comment!

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