If you’re alive and breathing these days, it is hard not to notice what a mess the world is.
Between climate change gifting us with too many hurricanes to count, the continued tragic impact of gun violence and now revelations of yet another sexual abuse scandal it can be hard to remain hopeful.
While I have my moments of cloudiness, I remain optimistic because I live in a world where I’m surrounded by Change Making leaders who are on the other side of all the crap the world throws at us, including gun violence, climate change and abuses of power.
Every day these Leaders defend us from all the ugliness that keeps us awake at night by exercising their Advocacy Super Powers!
Advocacy Super Powers Include:
– Embracing Risk.
– Playing well with Others in pursuit of Impact.
– Using their Voice for Influence.
– Holding a Compelling Vision & Adopting a Long Term view toward fulfilling it.
Even though I went to law school, and gained plenty of experience flying solo as an environmental staff attorney and policy advocate I still struggled with using my Super Powers consistently throughout my career.
Peter Drucker said, “Management is doing things right; Leadership is doing the right things”. Advocacy is a leadership strategy. But when we overly focus on “how”, its easy to become stuck in paralysis by overanalysis.
What I know to be true is no one person can shoulder all the risk when it comes to Advocacy.
In 2008 I switched gears and left the practice of environmental law and went to work as a Vice President of Policy for an Association. The recession had just hit and our state was in a financial free fall, reneging on its promises to pay our nonprofit members with whom it held contracts.
Advocacy was a recent activity and it was reflected in the understanding and behavior of the staff and board. The culture of my new organization was very much focused on managing and minimizing risk at all costs.
We were asked to step up and use our voice to help publicly lead and it took us a VERY LONG time to become comfortable with the reputational risk. We missed opportunities to speak up and to support others who spoke up against unfair cuts. And this was painful and deeply frustrating to me .
There was an aversion to the inevitable messiness that comes with taking public positions for the first time on unfamiliar issues. We weren’t prepared to adjust course and respond to changing conditions.
And our discomfort with risk was reflected in our communications that were so qualified and muted it was nearly impossible for others to join us because they didn’t know what we stood for.
Here’s what I learned….
– I couldn’t step into my fullness as a leader because we were in overwhelm , under resourced and ultimately not effective.
– Even though I knew how to Advocate, it didn’t matter when there was no clear pathway or organizational supports.
– Leading with advocacy requires support.
While I have loved supporting nonprofits over the last few years through my speaking and training workshops, I now want to offer support to individual nonprofit leaders like yourself. Individual leaders need support that can’t be addressed in a speech or a hands on training.
That’s why I’m excited to be offering a brand new 6 month 1:1 virtual coaching experience called Amplify Your Impact!
If you want full details check it out here.
And if you want to continue the conversation on what it means to Lead with Advocacy, join me LIVE FRIDAY AT 12 PM CST on my Facebook Page.