Change Leadership Watch
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Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

Courage for New Leaders To Listen & Learn in the New Year

Courage for New Leaders To Listen & Learn in the New Year | Change Leadership Watch |

It takes courage to listen. Whether it’s a first or fifth transition to a new leader role, these non-profit leadership lessons learned are timeless. Pause, reflect. choose, (from horse-guided leadership & learning.) In the first months, resist the urgent and not important to follow these practical steps to ensure your success.  

It takes courage to listen & learn, as a new leader.


What I learned at the University of Michigan early on was the power of the conversation. Listening builds relationship. Listening well has impact as a leader with groups of new direct reports, with peers and colleagues, ALL of them await a new leader’s first steps and actions. Each. Encounter. Equals. Opportunity. To. Connect.

John Taylor, CEO of the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) had this to say about the series:

“As a new CEO, the article’s main points to invest time in learning, building relationships, and establishing priorities have been key during my first six months on the job.”  

I interviewed John before he left his role at the University of Michigan. His view is a fresh insight to help this year's new leaders.  Note that although we make reference to associations throughout the posts, these tips apply to any non-profit organization and are adaptable to the for-profit sector as well.

EXCERPTS from the full article derived from
  -- "Seven Ways New Non-Profit Leaders Succeed the First Year on the Job"

1. LISTEN to Learn

In many high-pressure environments, deep listening distinguishes the highly experienced from the amateurs. ...One association executive advised his peers to “resist the temptation to prove how bright you are; do nothing when you first arrive—just learn.”

...Develop a list for listening interviews including staff, board members, active volunteers, randomly selected members, dropped members, industry leaders, subject matter experts, external partners, and others. Everyone has something to say; they ...will be encouraged by your desire to learn. Ask open-ended questions. Prepare to be surprised. Though many relationships will deepen during your tenure, early conversations can provide unique opportunities for candid exchanges unencumbered by baggage, fears, or agendas.



...Information for your staff is usually under-communicated by a factor of four.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Staff members are vitally interested in what the boss [senior leadership team, executive committee, board] just talked about. Find a way to share it regularly.


  • The board should be vitally interested in progress toward strategic goals. Find a way to check on this.
  • Committees and other volunteer groups don’t know what other committees and groups are doing. Summarize, align, and share.
  • Members and constituents want to know “What’s in it for me?”  They will appreciate understanding the logic behind board decisions. Find a way to test, confirm and communicate this regularly. 
Read the full post on LinkedIn : 
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This article is useful for any non-profit leader in interim roles, as well as new leadership roles.  It's drawn from my work with new, on-boarding leaders in a large, complex, world-class non-profit, the University of Michigan, and my continuing work for my own company,REVELN Consulting, co-written with my colleagues, senior partners at Ideas for Action, LLCAlan Davis, my former client and friend, Jolene Knapp, who are both talented, highly experienced non-profit CEO's and leaders. I'm pleased to be sharing with you ourSeven Ways New Non-Profit Leaders Succeed the First Year on the Job".

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Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

Cautionary Change Leader Tales: Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives | Forbes

Cautionary Change Leader Tales:  Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives | Forbes | Change Leadership Watch |

Yes, there's room for change leaders to "spot these behaviors and  stamp them out from your own"  and your team's repertoire.

These traits can be found in the leaders of current failures like Research In Motion - Blackberry makers, (RIMM.)

They are also cautionary tales for currently unbeatable firms like Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), and (AMZN).

Consider the change implications and hubris of these traits:

Habit # 1: They see themselves and their companies as dominating their environment    

(DN:  Can any one leader dominate anything these days?  Rugged individualism is dead.)

Habit #3: They think they have all the answers  (DN:  Again, individualism is dead.)

  • CEO Wolfgang Schmitt of Rubbermaid was fond of demonstrating his ability to sort out difficult issues in a flash. In one discussion about a particularly complex acquisition, Wolf, without hearing different points of view, just said, ‘Well, this is what we are going to do.’”
  • Leaders who need to have all the answers shut out other points of view. When your company or organization is run by someone like this,  hope the answers he comes up with are ...the right ones.

  • For Rubbermaid they weren’t. The company went from being Fortune’s most admired company in America in1993 to being acquired by the conglomerate Newell a few years later.

Habit #4: They ruthlessly eliminate anyone who isn’t completely behind them  (DN:  Resistance is a resource.  So, oh oh.)

  • It’s both unnecessary and destructive.
  • By eliminating all dissenting and contrasting viewpoints, destructive CEOs cut themselves off from their best chance of seeing and correcting problems as they arise. Sometimes CEOs who seek to stifle dissent only drive it underground. Once this happens, the entire organization falters.
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Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

New Approaches on the Fed Fast Track: Did Charles Evans Save the Recovery?

New Approaches on the Fed Fast Track: Did Charles Evans Save the Recovery? | Change Leadership Watch |
Chicago Fed president Charles Evans has gone from dissenter to intellectual leader in just a year. The future of the recovery might be at stake
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

When a post features statements like this, " just a year later, the Fed has fully embraced the so-called Evans rule by linking interest rates to the unemployment rate." - it's time to take notice of what captured minds, as well as hearts and the hands on the wheel of interest rates change."  ~  D

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