So, I made a slight pivot turn and went to work for non-profits!
I spent the next almost 20 years of my life doing that wonderful work. Within 3 months at my second non-profit job, I was promoted from being a major gifts fundraiser to the director of development and I spent most of my career in senior organizational management. Many of the organizations I worked with went through major organizational changes. One changed its mission. Two dramatically changed their organizational strategy and structure. One changed from being single issue focused to multi-issue focused. Another opened two new offices and more than tripled their staff. In almost all cases, I led the organizational change and learned a lot about change management, organizational culture, leadership, and what makes for healthy organizations.
In 2008 when the economy turned down, I took a step back to think about my next step. I made another slight pivot turn and went to work for a Fortune 200 company! I had 7 bosses in 8 years, grew my book of business from $2.5 to 33 million in annual revenues and learned a whole lot more about change management, organizational culture, civility, what makes healthy organizations, and leadership…and the critical difference between managing and leadership.
After 8 years, I decided to leave and open my own business – taking all that I had learned as well as all that I was seeing about both the challenges that organizations were having integrating Millennials into their organizations and the pressure that same group was exerting on organizations to change.
We’re now in a perfect storm. With the constant cycle of disruption, the Millennial generation being the largest in the workforce, the new Smart Machine Age and era of AI, organizations are being challenged to redefine the roles of their leaders and understand the connection between organizational culture and profitability, staff retention, innovation and sustainability. More than ever, organizations are looking at what creates healthy organizations.
Along the way, I got interested in brain science and, just like what’s happening around culture and leadership, this is a great time to be interested in neuroscience. We’re learning so much about why we do what we do…and how to interrupt the biological pattern and create a deliberate choice. Inevitably, something about our brains always makes it into my keynote talks! And – unless it’s what you want – I make sure to not geek out about it too much! Just enough to illuminate something and, often, help people see that what’s happening isn’t great…and it’s just how we’re wired. In that moment, it makes it both normative so we can get out of shame and blame, and makes it possible to change.
Ok. Enough about me. What’s happening with you and how can I be of service?
As Brian Chesky, Co-founder and CEO of Airbnb said, “Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simple way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing.”
Company culture does so much to attract top talent, retain great employees and ensure people operations are always performing at its best. I’m very motivational when speaking about these issues.
If you’re looking inspire, ignite and empower your organization and its people, I hope you’ll consider doing it with me.