As an organization leader, here is a trap you can easily fall into. You have your opinions. You have your way of doing things. You like your ideas. The event venues are comfortable and effective. But then…
A board member mentions a new idea, or a committee member suggests a new event. Your first reaction might be to be defensive. Why are they suggesting a new event? Do we really need another event?
These are not the questions you should be asking out loud OR in your head. Chances are that these suggestions are coming from a spirit of contribution or creativity.
This is a wonderful opportunity to please your board/committee members, without just rolling over and making the suggested change. Try this method:
- If the suggestion is illegal or immoral, then the answer is a clear “NO.” No discussion necessary.
- If not, then all suggestions should be discussed.
- Be clear on WHY you did what you did in the past. The new suggestion could be a better WHY.
- Bring out all the reasons to support your current situation after you listened to the suggestion with an open mind (and manner).
- Your position will be better received after allowing a discussion. Your current WHY may prove stronger than any new suggestion.
- Be prepared that this new suggestion may be brilliant. You may never have received it if your board/committee didn’t feel comfortable with you.
As an organization leader, you DO NOT need to make every change presented to you, but if you are not open-minded, you may miss an idea that you wish you had thought of yourself!!
Are you ready for suggestions?
Written by: John J. Corcoran
President & CEO