I recently returned to a seat behind the desk after four years of consulting. It was time, and I was excited because I missed the routine, and most of all I missed having a community of my own. When I showed up that first day, the thrill was real, the newness energizing, and the work was like an old friend. However, it only took a few days for me to begin to remember things from my old chamber life and things I had been coaching and consulting organization management professionals on during my years on the road. I wanted to share them with you here as a road map for those of you who are new to this world and as reminders to all of you organizations management veterans. Hopefully, it’s motivation for us all!
(1) You have a job…a big job, but you also have a life. Working into the night and on weekends is not going to give you a promotion. Frankly, no one is going to pat you on the back for it, and it robs you of your personal time. Maintain work-life balance.
(2) You can’t do everything at once and do everything well. Prioritize first and then manage your goals so that the outcome has the greatest potential for success.
(3) Know your skill set and your capacity. Don’t be afraid to assign something that isn’t in your wheelhouse or to ask for advice or assistance. Give yourself permission to ask for help.
(4) Respect, reward, and honor people. One of the easiest things you can do is to connect with the folks in your circle with expressions of gratitude or praise; your staff, your board, your volunteers, your members, your community leadership, etc. People will remember when you take the time to connect with them and applaud them for what they do.
(5) Network. We talk about it all the time with our members, but how well are you doing at building and maintaining your own network? You must have a diverse group of “go to” people in your industry, in your community, and in your life that you can count on to be your champions.
(6) Believe in yourself. If you don’t, how can you expect others to do so? You won’t get it all right. You don’t know everything. That’s okay, but you have to believe in you.
(7) Choose your words. Once they escape, you can’t take them back. Think twice and speak once.
(8) There are people who won’t like you and don’t recognize what you bring to the table. Don’t let them set up camp in your head; it’s unnecessarily defeating. You will lose some. Let it go and focus on the ones you do have in your circle.
(9) No is an acceptable word. You don’t have to explain or apologize. Find a comfortable relationship with “no” and remove judgment.
(10) Celebrate often! Open a bottle of champagne with your staff on a Friday afternoon for no reason. Share an article about a member’s success; take a board member to lunch just because; show up at a business and spend some money because you think they are great. Treat yourself to a late arrival to work the day after a 15- hour day. Just do it!
Most importantly, remember the work you do is greater than you are. It will outlast you. Some of it will be talked about or referred to long after your name is forgotten. Find satisfaction in that truth every day. Show up completely. Be all in. That’s a return on investment worth sinking your teeth into.