6 Things for Leaders to Keep on Top Of

Leadership: Develop Unlimited Talent
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Oct 1, 2015 | Blog

As a Leader, What Do You Need to Keep Learning?

The other day, as I was struggling to figure out how to download an ebook from the library to my tablet, I had a horrible realization: if I don’t make the effort to keep up with the changes in technology, I am at risk at being left behind! My commitment to learning is essential to managing a resilient organization that continues to innovate and adapt to the ever-changing social, economic, and technological landscape. 

Here are 6 things I think are critical for not-for-profit leaders to keep on top of:

  • Technology. This needs no explanation. The truth is we just need to suck it up. The great news is we do not need to be experts at all technologies (whether it’s apps, social media or cloud storage). We do, however, need to be aware and informed when making the right decisions for our organizations. I’ve had great success engaging skilled volunteers and in-the-know staff members to advise and educate myself and our board when making these important (and sometimes high-cost) decisions.
  • (Big) Data. Are you using the customer and client data you have to make better decisions? Big data is a term for very large or complex data, but any data you have can be analyzed for better decision-making, cost reduction, and impact assessment.
  • Lean principles. Introduced in 2008 to the high-tech industry, this method of developing products and services is applicable to the not-for-profit sector. Basically, you invest your time in building services that meet the needs of early clients, and then adapt, experiment, learn, and reiterate over time. This approach can reduce start-up costs and risks. 
  • Generations in the work place. People younger than us oldies have different motivators when it comes to work and fulfillment. Learning what makes them tick will bring huge benefits
  • Giving motivations. Again, there is a big change in how people want to give their time and money. Relying on direct mail to fundraise or only offering hands-based, long-term volunteering opportunities may not bring you the same results as it did 10 years ago. 
  • Board performance. A dysfunctional or ineffective board will reduce your organization’s impact. Continuing to invest in your own expertise in board management and understanding new trends in board governance will ensure your time is spent driving forward toward mission delivery. 

What do you commit to continuing to learn?

Denise Baker headshot


Denise Baker

Denise Baker was the Executive Director of Vantage Point and is passionate about change management and growth, cultivating collaborative environments and developing leadership in others. She has held leadership positions in many industries, including Director of Worldwide Education at Business Objects and Assistant Dean at the Sauder School of Business. Denise has an Honours English Degree and a Master of Library and Information Science from UBC.

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