Do you have a team that needs your input, support and leadership AND ambitious fundraising goals you need to meet? In this webinar, Kishshana Palmer will show you how to hit your goals while staying connected to your team.
Steven: All right, Kishshana, I’ve got 1:00 Eastern. Is it okay if I go ahead and kick us off officially?
Kishshana: Let’s do it.
Steven: All right. Cool. Well, good afternoon, everyone, if you are on the East Coast and good morning if you are on the West Coast or somewhere in between. Thanks for joining us for today’s Bloomerang webinar, “How to Be a Great Manager and a Fundraiser Too.” Because we all wear multiple hats, right? This is something that I think everyone listening knows about. Thanks for being here. I’m really excited for this one. I am Steven Shattuck. I am the Chief Engagement Officer over here at Bloomerang. I will be moderating today’s discussion as always.
Just a couple of housekeeping items before we get started officially. I just want to let you know that we are recording this webinar and we’ll be sending out that recording later today, as well as the slides. Just in case you didn’t already get the slides, we’ll send all that stuff to you today, have no fear. I don’t want anyone to leave early, but if you have to leave early, don’t worry. You’ll be able to watch that recording later on. Or share it with a friend or a colleague.
As you’re listening today, please feel free to use that chat box right there on your webinar screen. I know a lot of you already have. Thank you. I love seeing those chats. Do not sit on your hands. Please send in every question or comment you have. We’re going to try to save as much time as possible at the end for Q&A. We want your questions to be able to do that. So, please send them in as you listen to the presentation today. You can also use Twitter to do that. I’ll be keeping an eye on the Twitter feed as well if you are a Twitter-type person.
Then one last piece of technical note here, if you have any trouble with the audio, we usually find that the audio by phone is better than the audio by computer. So, if you’re having any trouble and you don’t mind dialing in by phone, try that before you give up on us completely. The connection there is usually much better. It doe[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]sn’t rely on internet connection or any of that good stuff. So, try it before you give up on us. We’d love for you to be here the whole hour.
If this is your first webinar, I just want to say a really special welcome to you. We do these webinars every Thursday. It’s one my favorite things we do at Bloomerang. This is the first one of 2018 and we’re really kicking it off with a bang. I’m super excited about this one. But if you are new to Bloomerang as well as our webinar series, Bloomerang offers donor management software. If you are in the market for that this year or maybe just curious about us, check out our website, wait until the presentation is over to do that, but then check us out. You can even watch a video demo of our software in action if you want.
But for now, I want to get to the good stuff. We are kicking off 2018 in the best possible way. We’ve got Kishshana Palmar here with us. Hey, Kishshana. How’s it going?
Kishshana: Hey. It’s going great. I am talking to all of you from New York City today.
Steven: Nice. This is special. Kishshana is super-busy and is traveling and speaking all the time. This is definitely a treat to have her. I just want to brag on her for a minute, don’t want to take up too much of her time because she’s done a lot of good stuff for us. If you don’t know her, she has been working as a speaker and a trainer and a coach for over 16 years. She’s been helping out mostly with nonprofits but also other organizations doing marketing and talent management.
Her resume is absolutely ridiculous. I’m going to try to blow throw it and do it justice. In addition to doing all of the training and speaking stuff, she is an adjunct professor over at Baruch College and Long Island University. She is a CFRE. She is a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer and an AFP Master Trainer. That’s the Association of Fundraising Professionals. So, if you see her name on a conference schedule, please go to her session. Don’t go to anyone else’s, if you have a choice.
Like she said, she’s dialing in from New York City. She’s a mom to an awesome daughter that I got to hear about behind the scenes here before we got started and has some really awesome advice for us. I don’t want to take up any more of her time. Kishshana, take it away for us, my friend.
Kishshana: Thank you, thank you, thank you. All right, everybody. That was a fantastic introduction. You stole all my thunder.
Kishshana: I’m going to skip through some slides. It’s all good. Just for you here, this is my most important job, folks, up on the screen. I am a solo mama to a wonderful pre-teen daughter who is taking over the world of junior high school and is giving me a run for my money. So, it’s the hardest job I’ve ever had, but it’s joyful. If you want to stay connected with me either throughout this conversation in addition to Bloomerang, here’s how you can find me, @FundDiva on all my handles. I’m on Facebook and on LinkedIn and I’ll also make sure I have this at the end, okay?
So, I used to be a road warrior in a former life. I’m a recovery fundraiser, folks. I just want to say that for the record. I’m on the road a lot now. When I was in full-time practice for really great organizations, I spent a lot of time running through the airport, yes, in heels, running to meetings. I found that I spent a lot of my time talking to my staff on the phone. So, that means one on one, having conversations, team meetings. I spent a lot of time doing that in airports.
Even though I thought I spent quality time, I was attentive, I was very responsive on email, etc., my team would tell me over and over again that they just did not have enough time with me. So, initially when my board would come back here at review time, that would always be the feedback, “We love Kishshana so bad, but we just need her more, more time, more time.”
So, I really started to think about what could I do to not just be a great fundraiser, responsible for raising millions of dollars every year for teams that did that work not just in development, but also marketing and communications and policy—I managed an external affairs team for pretty much my whole career—but also being a great manager. How could you do that day to day work when you really weren’t in the office? That’s where I started.
So, today, we’re going to really talk about what it means to both hit and exceed your goals when you are an individual contributor. That’s whether you’re an executive director, whether you are in a tiny shop of one or you are in a big shop and whether that means also be a manager—this is important whether you are managing just volunteers—I don’t want to say just, but when you are managing volunteers because it’s very important—or you have a small team, a part-time team or you have a large team. I think that’s the concept. We’ll broadly cover that. I’m sure I’ll leave some stuff out, but this is the broad brush.
I’m going to preface this today before I jump into objectives by saying there are going to be some, “Duh, Kishshana,” moments. But you wouldn’t be here with me on this webinar if we had all the answers. Right, folks? We are learning together. So, if you have a duh moment, I want you to turn that around and make that an aha moment because you clearly need to hear it again.
So, we are going to cover a couple of really key things. Number one, what are the common pitfalls stopping you from managing effectively? Number two, what are strategies to manage your team effectively and keep your sanity. That’s really important. I’ve gotten some calls and emails from folks that, “Kishshana, I am drowning, my friend. What do I do?” And then thirdly, how to structure your time so that the work actually gets done.
Lastly, how to hit your goals while staying connected to your team. Now, I’m going to apologize in advance. I’m noticing that my special fonts that I love to use are translating rather crazy in the PDF, but it’s not on purpose. But hopefully everybody has no problem reading and also hearing my voice.
All right. So, we have four objectives we’re going to try to hit in the next 40 minutes. Everybody, strap in. We’re getting ready to go. The first thing I want to do is ask a question. I know that folks are telling me where you’re calling from, but I really want to know something different. Here’s what I want to know. What time challenges do you struggle with the most?
We’re in 2018, brand new year, affirmations, intentions and goals are set. But what do you really find around time that you struggle with the most? Planning for your team, one on one time with your team members, sticking to your plan or developing your team. If it’s all of the above, my friend, pick your biggest struggle.
All right. We’re waiting for the results to come in. Sticking to the plan I see coming in. Developing my team. We’re racing up there. Okay. I see where folks are. Sticking to your plan and developing your team—definitely very common. So, I’m glad I’m seeing that. I’m going to give you guys a couple more seconds and then we are going to close the poll.
All right. So, let me skip to the results. Overwhelmingly for the folks we have on the call—and if you’re going to be listening to this recording later, please also do a quick check in for yourself. Sticking to the plan I have for myself is the thing that is in the way, biggest struggle. So, it’s just like I’m a mom and the hardest thing I do is me time because I feel like there’s so many other things that need to get done and it shows up in my personal life and it shows up for me in my business. I imagine it’s showing up for you also. I thank you all for being honest. Great. That means this presentation is perfect.
So, we’re going to jump into some common pitfalls that I believe are stopping you from managing effectively. Before I read you all your rights. I’m going to share with you one my favorite quotes by Indra Nooyi, which is, “If you want to improve the organization, you have to improve yourself and the organization gets pulled up with you.”
This reminds me of an analogy my mom used to always tell me as a kid when she would say, “I can’t pour any water out of my cup into your cup if my cup is empty.” That really, really stuck with me. So, when things are getting hectic, that’s the kind of thing we need to be remembering. You can’t be doing well for other people if you’re not doing well yourself.
So, I imagine if I gave you guys a little poll that there would be tons of things you would say really get in the way and your biggest pitfalls around things that are stopping you from managing effectively. I have gotten them down to what you think are three things. You might think it’s delegating, motivation, goal setting, misunderstandings, vacancies, team, recruitment. You’re pulling to and fro. Your hands are going left and right and all of those are right. But they all boil down into three salient buckets.
We’re going to call them the three T’s, y’all—time, touch and talent. You thought I was going to say time, talent and treasure? I got you guys—time, touch and talent. These are the management three T’s that we fall prey to all the time. I want to talk about some ways that we can really make sure we manage your team effectively and keep your sanity.
Right. So, let’s talk about the first struggle—time. So, I’m going to give you an example of my friend, Mona. Mona is a chief development officer. She has a staff size of ten, organizational budget of about $15 million. Her annual team fundraising goal is about $10 million and her personal fundraising goal is $2 million. Now, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the line with me and you’re a $2 million organization or $1 million or $500,000, the math is the same. You either have to raise all of the money, most of the money or some of the money.
So, Mona is also a road warrior, like I was, on the road all the time. And here are the things that she tries to do and is also struggling with. So, she made all of her team meetings virtual because she’s not in the office more than a week out of every month. Most, if not all, of her communication is electronic.
Unfortunately, because of the demands of flights and donors and meetings and board meetings, etc., one on one time is often rescheduled, which means that when she’s in the office, Mona is putting out fires or she’s meeting with the senior team. Then you guys, she’s on the road again and gone. Personally, Mona wants to work out but her workload is crazy. So, by the time she gets to her hotel in whatever city she’s in or she makes it back home from being off the road, Mona gets in her bed, you guys.
So, Mona is on the struggle bus. She is stressed. What does Mona need to do around her time? The four things Mona would say to you that she really struggled with, number one, not making enough time for her team. Is that you? What about not making time for yourself? I saw that. I’m looking, kind of perusing in the chat box, I see that quite a bit. Not setting clear goals and not providing feedback. So, Mona is stressed. Her team is beside themselves. They’re like, “We love you, but really lady, what’s going on?”
So, I want to walk through some ways I think that we can manage time. I call this the time fix. First, not making enough time for your team, there are a couple of ways that I have found and all of these things I’m suggesting to you folks I’m done. Some have bombed. Some have been amazed. Some you try more than once, just being transparent.
Office hours—Kishshana, what do you mean by that? Literally, on my calendar, I would have my entire team—first of all, everybody had access to it, so I’m fully transparent about where I am down to my doctor’s appointment. Having office hours where my team knew they could come in, pull up a chair and talk to me about whatever they needed to talk to me about. Sometimes they would say, “Kishshana, I need some private time. Can we do that during office hours or one on one and we can figure that out?”
But my team and other team members throughout the organization not just on the development team but in program and operations and finance, they knew Kishshana has office hours, these two hours three times a week, my door is wide open. If no one came and no one had anything to say, great, but I kept that time pretty [inaudible 00:14:51] because it allowed me to then say is it an emergency or is it something that can wait until we have office hours this week? More times than not, it can wait.
The next thing is one on one check-in. I’m curious, drop it in the chat box—how many folks have one on one check-ins right now with your team member and/or with your volunteer. So, if you’re an ED on the call and you have your operations, your financials, are they effective? What are you using them to do? So, if you are having one on one check-ins, are you making sure that they are useful to you and they’re also useful to your team members, it’s a two-way street? You can do them with volunteers, I see volunteers coming in, as well as anyone else, having that quick check-in. It doesn’t have to be weekly. I’ll talk about that if there’s time.
The next thing is having emotional intelligence. What do I mean by that? Literally, in this context, I mean paying attention. You can get so busy being busy that you start working off commands. I’m in my office snapping my fingers. You are just saying, “Do this, do that, this has to be done, what about this,” you’re checking things off your checklist but you’re not paying attention to the fact that one of your team members has been having a hard time potentially in his or her personal life over the last two weeks because you’re on the go.
So, really being able to understand what your team is thinking about, how your team is feeling because feelings really do inform the facts and perception is reality, and really making sure you’re checking in where your team is as individuals and collectively outside the business of doing the work.
If you’re paying attention to that, then that allows you to be able to structure your time a little bit better because you know, “Jeff always has a crisis.” Let’s figure out what’s going on with that and how do we manage that potentially in our check-ins or just in conversations that we need to have, etc., not being so focused with tunnel vision and getting the job done that you’re not paying attention to what’s happening around you.
The next thing is not making time for yourself. I have read three or four dozen articles on self-care on the last three weeks because it’s that time of year where we’re like [prompting up 00:17:15], setting intentions, doing things for the new year. What’s your word? Mine is magnificent. But self-care, I have found, is one of the most critical, critical aspects. This does not just apply to women, my fellows on the phone.
This is for everyone. Getting up for a walk is self-care during the day, not being plastered to your desk. Making sure you drink more water than you drink something else, making sure you get in that yoga class, that Pilates class, that gym exercise class. When you get to a hotel if you have to travel for a conference, you ask them where at the hotel and you pack and plan for it.
Taking time to go get a massage once a month, once a quarter, whatever your budget allows personally, being by yourself if you’re like, “Kishshana, those things don’t work for me,” just having some quiet time, being able to recharge your batteries, so important. When you build that in with intention, that, folks, I promise you, helps to fix the time issue. The next thing is managing your calendar.
I was talking to my best friend the other day. She’s a chief program officer at a big nonprofit. She has meetings literally from 8:00 in the morning sometimes until 6:45, 7:00 at night. I’m like, “When do you go to the bathroom? Did you eat? Are you going to the gym? What’s happening?” She’s like, “Oh, they,” the infamous they, “Put this on my calendar.” I said, “Why don’t you have time blocked on your calendar so the meetings can’t be scheduled?” “I could do that?” Absolutely.
Your calendar is your own. It’s okay to say, “Hey, guys, we have about 15 meetings a week. It’s a little bit much. I don’t actually have time to get my work done and talk to my people. So, what are we meeting about? Can it be covered in an email? Can it be covered in a memo? Can we walk and talk while we do that?” Or I actually take the mornings to be able to do x, y and z. I spend that time with my team. I spend that time on my own work. I can meet starting at 9:00. I can meet starting at 10:00.
Now granted, when my DOD is on the phone and development staff members, communication staff members, you might feel like my executives director, they just want to meet when they want to meet. True. But that’s a whole nother webinar on managing up and managing your team. But I will say that it is possible to have very crucial conversations around what it means to manage your time when you’re working with a manager who doesn’t seem to manage their own time. But managing your calendar is a really big component to making time for yourself.
Last thing with this one, focusing on your big rocks. Boy, as folks in the social sector, we sure can get focused on being busy, can’t we? There is a fire being put out every day. For most of us, unless you work in some sort of rescue mission organization where you have to respond rapid response, most of us are not doctors working in the ER and we’re not firefighters and we’re not first responders. So, there are very few things that actually require the level of intensity that we put on them in the moment. We’re giving rocks the attention of pebbles.
So, you really have got to look through your big to-do list, your tasks, get it out of your mind and get it down on paper and look at what are the big things that are going to move the needle on your being able to achieve the goals set out in your development plan. Those are your big rocks. What things do you need to do in order to be able to move the rocks and who do you need to move the rocks with you? Everything else are pebbles. Does it mean that you let pebbles go to the wayside? No, my friends because a mountain of pebbles still is as heavy as a big rock. I just want to say that. But focusing on your big rocks first, making sure that those things are out of the way takes away the overwhelm around your time.
All right. Last but not least, establishing strong systems—I bet if I did an audit of you—200 folks on the call right now, if I did an audit of 100 of you and looked at your computer systems, your filing systems, your calendaring, what’s in your cellphone, sticky notes in your office, I would be giving you the entire side eyes. If you don’t know what that is, look on the emojis on your phone. It’s the one where one eye is big and the other is looking with a smirk to the right, that’s the side eyes.
What are you doing? Making sure you’re having strong systems and that you make the time to get your house in order, your work house in order so you have the way you communicate via email, the way in which the team likes to communicate, that you have the timing. Like for example, on teams that I’ve been on, we had an organizational practice where we would have 24-hour response time for certain level things, 48 response time for other things.
I had to set up an email system for tagging so that I knew which things I needed to respond to right away and which things I didn’t. We also did things like do not do reply all. Which things require that, which things don’t? Move to bcc. Just little things like that, all the way down to do you keep a paper planner and if you do, does paper make it to the digital so that folks who use digital actually have access. We’re really thinking about establishing strong systems that work for you to manage your time well.
The next thing, not setting clear goals—so, I think the thing that gets most of us stuck is not being clear. I’ll give you an example that’s not fundraising related but I think most of us can relate. This year, I would like to lose weight. I see myself in photos speaking and I said, “Holy moly, Kishshana, get it together.” That is not as clear and as achievable as this year, I would like to drop two dress sizes because I have a closet full of amazing fabulous clothes I cannot zip. That’s much more clear. I’d like to do that by my birthday in May, even more clear.
We all know what smart goals are, making sure that you are clear around the goals for yourself and being clear about the goals for your team. That gives conversation and agreement about what clarity means, which brings me to the second thing. What is your goal development process like? Often times, we race to the end of the fiscal year, whether it’s December and you’re doing annual appeal and it’s June and you’re like, “Holy moly, donors are going to disappear for the summer,” and there’s a sprint to the finish and then you’re exhausted and then you look at your computer screen or you go on vacation or something else happens that crops up and the goals get developed in a rush, or you do the same thing you’ve always done. No.
Intentional goal development process—you have time set aside, you know who are the play actors, who needs to have input, who has detour rights and decision making rights, being able to map that our, it does not have to be complicated, folks. All these rubrics and all that, that goes not help you in real life when you are a one or two-man shop on the go. Being clear and knowing what’s coming and setting a marker for it really allows you to be able to manage that time.
I mentioned setting smart goals, so I won’t dig into that. Then if your organization has this in their ethos and you guys have the bandwidth, 360 feedback. The thing about setting really clear goals is when you know that you’re helping your team get better and they’re helping you get better because that’s how I see feedback, feedback is a gift, then you step up and are on your A-game because it means that what you’re being measured on falls in line with smart goals. They fall in line with organizational goals and practices and they are clear.
If you’re in an organization where the organizational level stuff feels murky, if you are in charge of development or external affairs, my friends, you can get that all together. That’s why organizations have subcultures. It’s not an excuse to being all willy-nilly. I’m just going to say that out loud. If you need help on that, I’m happy to talk to folks offline. This is my sweet spot that we’re talking about.
All right, next. Not providing feedback—I just talked about 360 feedback. Some of you folks are like, “Yeah, we give feedback all the time. You probably don’t.” The reality is specifically if your organization has evaluations once a year, most times because we don’t keep track of our wins, managers have a tendency—it’s human nature, to look at the last six weeks or eight weeks of what your team members were doing. So, if it was stellar in the last six weeks, great. We’re glowing. If the last six weeks didn’t go so well, all of a sudden it’s a different problem.
So, making sure that you not only create development plans for how you’re going to raise money, increase our donor families, but also how are we going to make sure that our team members and ourselves are growing. It does not have to be complicated—simple, straightforward plan.
In order for us to move from this place to this place, we’re going to take on one stretch project. It will look like this. Here’s what we have in order to be able to do so. We’re going to go to one or two conferences. Here’s what the funds look like to do so. We can’t afford to travel. We found two virtual ones. I personally made a part of each team members’ goals and requirements, if you will, to find professional development that works within our budget for themselves.
You’ve got to steward your career like you steward your donors. So, making sure that you have development plans for your team because that is what you’re going to be tracking with them in your one on ones.
The next is having structured feedback. Once you have development plans for your team members, then you’re able to use that in your ongoing conversations that you have. If you have the weekly by weekly, etc., what are your big rocks? What would success look like for you at the end of this week? What are a couple of areas you’re struggling in? How can I help you? That’s what one on ones look like. They are not reports back of the work that I did the week before. I don’t need to manage my team’s past. I need to make sure I’m elevating them on their responsibilities and holding them accountable to their responsibilities.
So, structured feedback is key. And putting it on that calendar, making sure that you’re like yeah, we’ll meet on Friday. Friday when, at what time? Every Friday? Will it be every other Friday? Before lunch or after? Making sure we’re clear about how we’re going to get feedback, how awesome we’re going to get it, when we’re going to get it, who’s involved and what are we tracking against?
And then lastly, transparency is key. You should never have a team member and you should never feel like knowing the pathway to success was murky. Now, as a manager, you might have to set some pretty high markers and you might have to tell some hard truths and your staff may not always love it, but if you’re clear and transparent about what success looks like and you have some top line for what action looks like, then there’s a bar that’s been set. It’s clear about it and stick with it. I think that’s very important in terms of being able to focus on time is around giving feedback.
Folks feeling good? Tell me if you’re feeling good in the chat? Say, “I’m feeling good. The next thing is touch. Kishshana, what do you mean by that? Well, let me tell you about Craig. Craig is a VP of Institutional Advancement. He has a huge staff. I absolutely will send you what a one on one looks like before we do check-in, sure thing. He has the four direct reports. He’s raising beaucoup dollars. I haven’t even raised this much yet. I hovered in $10 million to $12 million at a time. So, the team’s fundraising goal is $80 million.
Craig is under pressure, okay? He spends most of his day in meetings. He sends cryptic text messages and/or early a.m. emails to the staff, 3:00 in the morning. He’s pretty hands off and he leaves his team to fend for themselves because they’re professionals. He will just do things himself when there’s a big project because he cannot be bothered and he also feels like he does not have the support or time he needs to train.
Let me tell you about Craig. He is barely above water on any given day. Is that you? Have you been on the receiving end of that? Okay. Yes, workplace harassment is true, but I’ll tell you, lots of organizational cultures operate that way. There’s an unwritten expectation about emailing after hours, late into the night and early morning, but I hear you.
So, three things that he’s kind of got going on in his life. One, he has a hands on versus hands off problem. He is not actually touching his team enough in terms of presence. Another one is, are you talking to me? Clearly, Craig’s communication style has a lot to be desired and it’s putting some space between him and his team and his ability to be effective and also have his team help him manage his time. And then the DIY hamster wheel, “I’ll just do it myself.” Actually, that might not be the best use of your time, my friend, but it happens to us. It all [inaudible 00:30:03] how much touch we want to have with our team.
So, here are the things we can do to fix touch. Here’s the touch thing. One, if the problem is hands on versus hands off, delegate, don’t dictate. Delegating really has to do with something I didn’t put up here but I want to say, trust. Did you trust your own hire if you hired your team? Do you trust the competency of your team members and if yes, what are you doing holding their hands together? If no, what are you doing to fix it?
So, delegating, not dictating, which is why in job descriptions and onboarding, it’s really important to get clear that you are not building jobs around tasks and to-dos that must be done. You’re building it around big responsibilities that are rolled up into what’s going to move the organization forward and put our mission in action. So, delegating, not dictating.
The second thing is establishing clear responsibilities and roles. So, I believe very deeply in having decision making rights and veto rights. So, you might be the manager of the thing, but you have somebody else who can veto the decision, understanding when you go into different projects, into different campaigns, practices, etc., who had what gets really clear about what lane everyone’s supposed to be operating in. If you do that well, folks, if you do it even marginally well, you will find all of a sudden folks feel included.
Imagine a hug that’s coming around wow, trust starts to get better. Communication starts to increase. You’d be surprised at that. And build in setbacks. Now, what’s that? Basically, let’s say, for example, we have a gala coming up. A lot of us still do events. We have a gala event planned that goes out nine months, ten months, whatever your planning cycle is. They have some big milestones that you know you have to meet and the events manager in charge of that runs the plan.
If you build in slices where you are going to purposefully check in ahead of time, do that at the start of the project, your team member who is charged with making that event happened knows there are going to be some key markers that you’re going to check in and figure out how’s the project going, are we on track or off-track, what do I need to do to support you, do I need to step in, etc.?
If you build in those setbacks, you will find that you are able to allow your team to delegate and your team will still feel like you are all in with them but you’re not micromanaging them. So, being very intentional—notice I said that word a lot of times in our slides already—about how you build your time in the check in. It’s important for you to do that as a manager. If you build those in, then you’ll find you’re not spending a lot of time checking in all the time on small tasks.
The second thing—addressing communication styles. I very deeply in setting the rules of the road. It doesn’t mean your communication style is the best one or the only one. But if you ask the question how does your team like to be communicated with both in terms of feedback positive and also constructive feedback how do you like to communicate with and get a really good understanding.
When it’s urgent, text me. If it’s not urgent, send me email. If you have something important to say that you have feelings about, please do not send me a dissertation via email. Set up a meeting on my calendar, let me know what it’s about. That’s how Kishshana works. If you work differently, your team should know and you should also know how they work and there should be some back and forth respect here.
Now, it’s not perfect. It’s a dance, a tango. Setting the rules of the road for what things are urgent and how do we communicate them and how do we do things really helps up front for folks to understand expectations. When we understand what’s expected of us, then we get the job done or we don’t, but it feels much, much more clear and it allows us to feel much closer in terms of how we think about such.
Consistency in your frequency—don’t start having one on ones every week and then fall off three months. That is absolutely one of the crazy making things that we do. You’re racing in. You’re feeling good. You’re going to get off this call. You’re feeling warm and fuzzy on the inside. You have things you can do tomorrow, people you want to share with and then in March at the end of Q1 when the snow starts to break and the birds start to come out in April, you’ve forgotten all the good stuff. This slide has gone into the abyss of your computer.
Consistency in frequency—be realistic about what you can maintain. This is not the beginning part of your dating relationship. This is the maintenance. What do you that you can maintain? What will you do to be able to build in the consistency meaning the frequency of communication? I think that’s really important.
These are really good topics, actually, to have at your staff meetings. Often times, as a side bar, we have staff meetings about tasks. These are really good topics to begin. I guarantee you, if you bring these to your teams, whether they’re volunteers, whether you have cross-team organizational conversation, you’ll be amazed at how much really different perspectives and how much clarity folks will get around working together. It will absolutely bring you guys closer together, which is about touch.
Then the last one is listening actively. So, a team member walks into your office. You’re pounding away at your keys at your computer. They’re like, “Hey, Kishshana, can I just talk to you for a second?” You’re like, “Absolutely,” and you keep typing on your computer screen and you don’t look up. That’s not listening actively and that’s not being present.
So, if you’re in the middle of something and a team member comes in, if it is not urgent requiring you to get up and do something right this second, it’s okay to say, “Can you give me 30 minutes and come back? I just want to finish this thought and make sure this done and then I will have my full attention on you.”
The second thing about listening actively—words are the smallest part of communication. Body language and tone and inflection take up most of the percentage, right? So, are you listening to see what’s behind what folks are saying? Are you asking questions about context so that you understand what folks are really asking for? Everybody’s communication style is different.
Tina asked the question, “What are you saying we should discuss, communication styles of the team?” Yes. One, you as a manager should really take some time to think about what is my communication style truly, not the person I want to be, but the person I am when I’m stressed. That’s what we need to be thinking about. Then what’s the communication style of my team and do I need to actually have a conversation and actually touch base. “How did that feel when I touched you? How do you guys feel when you come in to work at 8:30 and I’ve already sent you 14 emails.”
So, being able to have those kinds of conversations about files really will reveal some of the practices and the processes that you need to have or develop or tighten on your team and definitely bring you closer together.
Let me move through this because I want to make sure I have plenty of time for more questions. So, getting off the DIY hamster wheel. I believe in giving guidance versus direction. So, for me, that is if you have been clear at the top of any project on what success looks like—in this case, I’ll give you writing a grant. You have a new team member who is a new grant writer. They’re a good writer but they haven’t really done this stuff before. It’s not enough to just say, “I want you to have a really well written product.” That is [inaudible 00:37:30]
To say, “Let me give you an example of what I mean,” that’s one. It doesn’t mean their writing style is going to be exactly like yours, but it does mean that they’ll have a sense of the type of work finished product that will result in funds to your organization, guidance versus direction as opposed to, “I need you to write it exactly the way you see it here.” That’s direction.
So, really making sure that you understand in any given campaign, project, operation. I don’t care if it’s a team retreat, a volunteer appreciation day. Whatever it is, making sure there’s some guidance there, but not being directed for every single thing. All this is about being a better manager as well being able to raise money. You’ll see it here again probably one more time, creating clear systems and structures. How do you actually create the work, manage the work, track the work, and have post-mortem on the work?
What I mean by that is when the thing is over, what is the process for coming back to talk about what we did well, what we need to do better, what was missing and what was awesome sauce, like making sure that’s in place—simple, simple, simple, does not have to be complicated.
And then the last one in this—lower your stress through the locus of control modeling, thinking about what do you actually—put your hands together, folks, in a little circle and make sure your pinkies and your thumbs touch. What do you actually have in your locus of control? What is one more out from that if you open your hands a little bit? What’s one more out from that? So, if you think about the things that you can control, where your fingers and your thumbs touch, that’s the locus of control.
Not only should you be practicing that, but you should be modeling that for your team because you will find folks will stay in their lane and they will not be as meddlesome and they will want to help in areas where you need it because they’ll ask for it and it really opens up more conversation. So, locus of control is one of the things in terms of modeling that I have found because I don’t have control over everything and I can’t control it. What do I have control over? It has really helped in terms of me being able to—for my team to feel like I am hands on, but not a micromanager.
The third thing, talent—so, it’s not just enough to bring the people on board. You actually have to have talent that rocks, right? So, Bill is a senior director of major gifts. He has a staff size of three, direct reports, three of them. He also has a goal of $20 million. He has a personal fundraising goal of $5 million.
His days look like this—team meetings are in person. Face time is very important. There’s overflow of reports and spreadsheets and memos. He has one plaguing role vacancy, but he’s managing multiple campaigns and he’s leading multiple projects. So, he is having a serious talent challenge.
So, here are some of the things that he’s dealing with and you might be dealing with too. One, not recruiting the right team, two, building trust in the team you have so that folks are maximizing their skillset and their core competencies to be high performers and three, misunderstanding your team’s actual motivation.
So, the first thing—how do you fix that? In recruiting, don’t rush the process. This is a whole thing on recruiting in general. Recruiting is its own thing. Don’t rush it. If Bob left on Friday, you don’t have to post Bob’s job on Monday. You can actually take that time to think about what is critical and necessary for your team at this time to achieve the goals in your fundraising plan. Maybe Bob is in that position and didn’t need to be. Maybe it wasn’t redundant. Maybe it wasn’t enough or it wasn’t the thing that would move the needle far enough. You can hit and exceed goals. So, not rushing the process.
Kicking unconscious bias—a lot of times we have great candidates who come in our doors and because they don’t necessarily look like us or they don’t feel, “I don’t know how I feel about that person,” or, “I don’t know if they’d fit into our culture.” What does that mean exactly? That’s just quite subjective and really reveals personal bias. So, kicking unconscious bias to the curb, that’s its own thing, but really looking into that, folks.
And then quit relying too much on references—references are supposed to be good, everyone. They’re supposed to be good. Not that I don’t use references and I actually have great references. There’s ways in a job interview process to really make sure you’re testing the applicant on what the job is going to really require and not necessarily on the stellar reports that their reference gave you.
Lastly, not expecting too much too soon—you actually have to have an onboarding process for your team and for your new team member so they have time to really learn the organization, learn about the mission in action, learn about programs and how they look as a [inaudible 00:42:32] and also be able to ask the right questions and practice and model. So, don’t expect too much too soon. I’m not saying a whole year, but at least give some time for folks to learn.
The second thing is around building trust. A lot of times I feel like there’s a talent gap because we don’t trust our hires and we don’t trust we hire in the end. So, really being able to focus on outcomes versus outlooks and activities versus inputs and knowing the difference. The results you want to get to the end is not the same as what you had to do to get there. So, really understanding where you are in process versus outcomes.
And then being busy versus activities of what it means to be successful to hit goals. So, as a manager, going back to the beginning where I talked about being very, very clear about what success looks like, if you’re able to be clear about that, then you’re able to measure folks against the right types of things which allows you to continue to build trust in the talent you hire.
Connecting regularly—we talked about one on ones, that’s what I mean there. I’m going to say this folks, check your ego at the door. I’ve raised money for over 16 years. I know there’s folks on the call who have me by 5, 10, 15, 20, easily and you can learn from me as much as I can learn from you. So, just because someone is straight out of school and they’re enthusiastic but they’re green, green and green doesn’t mean that you can’t humble yourself enough to understand and know that you have something to learn from your team.
Actually, as a manager, you’re also in a service capacity in which you are trying to make sure you are pushing your team to be top performers and inspiring them and motivating them and modeling them. They require leaving their ego at the door. The third thing, misunderstanding team motivation. Everybody’s not here for the money. Now, some of us are here for the money. I’m not judging anybody. Just like donors give for lots of different reasons, people work for lots of different reasons.
So, checking your assumptions about why folks are doing the job they’re doing is really important. If you start to understand your team motivations, you eliminate dissatisfaction. So, really, figuring out what gets your teams going—for some folks, it’s like I want to be around smart people. For other folks, it’s like I love this mission and I don’t want to work in programs, so this is the best way I understand how. For other folks, it’s like, “Nobody else would hire me and you guys seemed cool.” I don’t care where you start. It’s about where you help your team grow.
So, making sure that people have in their job role, the responsibility levels are elevated enough that most of the jobs they’re doing, even if it’s real hard, it sits in their core competencies because then they will feel satisfied with the job that they’re doing.
And personalize your approach. This is one of the hardest things that I had to learn as a manager. Everything is not for everybody. Sometimes I’m a straight shooter. I am a direct communicator. I have a big personality and I’m also an introvert. Don’t laugh. I really am. But how it showed up at work is that my team members who didn’t have that same approach to how they work would be overwhelmed by me really easily. So, I had to learn how to personalize some folks that I would talk to. I’d have to do a little bit of a roundabout thing to get where I had to go.
I started to learn to ask for permission when I had to say very hard truths. Are you in the mental space to hear some feedback? Really simple question. My team learned that when that question came, they’d say, “I’m here for it,” or, “Can we talk about this this afternoon?” You were able to get them in the mindset to understand where you were coming from and hear what you had to say. But personalizing your approach for your team, it is possible.
And then model what you expect. If you expect your team to be top performers, be a top performer. If you expect your team to get to work at a certain time—now, I could argue you down about that because I feel like the work just needs to be done—then you have to model that. If you expect folks to be transparent, you’ve got to model it. To me, that seems very straightforward.
So, I’m going to wrap up, I’m going to try to make this quick. How do you structure your time so the work actually gets done? So, we talked about office hours, one on one check-ins, managing your calendar, focusing on your big rock. The next one is goal development process, 360-degree feedback, retreat planning and retreat and planning blocks, actually having time in your quarterly calendar that you set aside whether you do it offsite at Starbucks for the day or at home for the day or you go to the woods, whatever it is you do to be able to plan properly so you have time to think so that you can activate.
Creating development plans for your team, professional development plans, structured feedback, calendaring it, and making sure that you take transparent action. I’m all about the action. Talk is cheap, people. My dad used to always say to me I’m from Missouri. Missouri is the show me state, right? So, show me. So, taking transparent action is really important.
So, Jim Rohn says, “Don’t mistake movement for achievement. It’s easy to get faked out by being busy. The question is busy doing what?” I imagine that’s how Jim Rohn would say it in my own voice. That’s the Kishshana version of it.
So, let’s think about a really easy way for you all to remember how to hit your goals while staying connected to your team. Are you all ready? Drop in the chat. I’m ready. Let’s go. I call it goals plus connections equals success. Now, when I’m finished with this slide, you can print it off and put it on your desk, on your cork board and you are ready to go.
First, you take the time to plan you first. It’s our first aha/duh moment. Take the time to plan it. “I don’t have the time, Kishshana.” Yes, you do. You don’t have the time to fail. You don’t have the time to miss goals. You have the time to make sure you’re healthy both mentally and physically to do the job that you love and you were hired to do.
Next thing up—make team building a priority. Your team, those are your soldiers, your partners, your defense line, your offense line, pick an analogy, any one. If you don’t take time to build a rapport with your team, they will not go the distance when there are no raises this year. They will not go the distance when they have to stay late or work a weekend yet again. But if you take time to build up that team, they will go the ends of the earth for you over and over again and not even feel like they remember the last time.
Be transparent—if you are exhausted, say so. If you are stressed or feel overwhelmed, you don’t have to complain, but name it. Name it during your yay boo’s and your staff meetings so that you have got to be able to say, “I am human and I am showing up every day with you all. So, let’s do this together.”
Sarah, yes, planning you first, meaning planning out your professional goals and how to get there or self-care or both. I have two columns. I do self-care first and then I do my professional goals because I know what it takes—I know what I will put to the side in terms of my self-care before I jump into professional work, but it might work the opposite from you. You do it in the order that actually feels most natural to you.
Learn both the personal and the professional. Here’s what I mean by that. The professional is the professional, get the work done. But your personal life bleeds into work. You spend more time with your coworkers on average than you do with your family in any given week. So, recognize that sometimes stuff has happened episodically with your team members and with you that affects how you operate personally. When I talked about having the emotional intelligence, being able to pay attention.
Don’t rush recruitment—if you’ve got to hire, you take your time and you measure twice, cut once. You don’t have to drag it out, you don’t have to interview people 97 times, but be thoughtful in the way you set up your recruitment process, take the time there and then you will make sure that you’re able to have a very smooth recruiting process.
Delegate, don’t dictate. Give the work away. Don’t tell the people how to do the work. If you make it a clear to your team what success looks like, you will be able to get it all done. That’s my goal plus connection equals success. That to me is what I call the stack for how we’re able to get stuff done.
Okay. So, I’m going to move through these last three slides because I basically created some key takeaways. You’ll have them here to look at. It reminds you of the highlights of what I talked about for each of them on how to be a great manager and fundraising. I want to leave—we have ten full minutes—I want to leave time for questions and want to make sure that I’m able to open it up, okay?
So, “How do you separate or blend different professional personalities? We’re a small nonprofit and we have great input from several volunteers and they clash. It’s sort of sad because we’ve lost some talent.” My instinct says acknowledge the challenge. We love you guys, but sometimes, as Kishshana says, we don’t go together. First, acknowledge that. Then say what are we really trying to achieve and how are we best positioned to get there. That’s really focusing on people’s actual core competencies and work strengths, including volunteers.
Then it means acknowledging the volunteers, your work is super important and super valuable. We couldn’t do this work without you, but we’ve got to be able to have some order. Here’s what this success looks like. So, you as a manager have got to be able name in order for us to be able to get to get to goal A, “Success looks like this.” Let’s talk about that success. Let’s get there. Then what do we need to do to pave the road to get there? It might be a little bumpy, folks, but it’s a really good way to have a conversation that doesn’t get personal when you’re trying to achieve goals. I hope that helps.
Examples of team building—I do everything from—it depends on what type of organization you are—so, we did Popcorn Fridays in my last team every single Friday at 5:00. And I’m a mom who’s running to get my kid from after school, so it used to stress me out, but then I got used to it. So, we started doing it at 4:00. But we’d have popcorn. We’d stop work. Some of my staff liked beer. Some didn’t drink. But we did different types of popcorn and we sat together for an hour every Friday and some people started running for the train and we just chit-chatted, talked about the weekend, talked about foolishness, TV shows, movies.
We did that during the week, but that was intentional time when we knew we had every single week. So, it could be as simple as that or as fancy as doing an offsite staff retreat that’s really focused on getting to know each other. It doesn’t mean you need to get into the private act of the people’s lives, but you do get a little bit more personal.
Tana asks me, “What’s the best way to do this with a virtual team?” I imagine it’s the team building. So, I’ve managed virtual teams, Tana. So, some of the things that we did were online parties. We love, love video. For me, working home, I’m like, “I have to get dressed today.” We would either have afternoon coffee—I do creative coffees now as a consultant. We would get on video and we would talk.
We would have a party. Somebody would have music. We would do that maybe even for just ten minutes before we jumped into staff meetings or business. People looked forward to it because they were like, “Who gets to pick the song this week? Why’d you pick it? What does that mean?” We really started doing small things, having a question is another example that somebody got to choose that got asked each week before we started the meeting and they’re ready to think about ahead of time and then we would discuss it.
“How much of your time do you suggest spending on managing and developing your team versus meeting your own fundraising goals? There’s no magic formula, but it seems that my days are spent either/or.”
Let me tell you what? I’m exhausted thinking about it. Here’s how I did it. It didn’t always work perfectly but it worked well. I got really clear about the ebb and flow of how money got raised in our organization and then I built my team management time around that because I understood the cycle where donors, we were hot and heavy and we were on the road, in my case, or at events or hosting or doing online appeals, etc. We knew during that time, we planned it and I scaled down. Then we knew in the time that we got slow, we got to do a lot more fun stuff.
So, one of the ways I manage that is actually did not have weekly check-ins with my team because my team was too big. Even if your team is small, you don’t have to check in every week. You can say we did everything and we had a reporting format we followed for our check-ins. So, big rocks were on there, things we needed help on.
So, on my calendar each week, I had time to read my team report and then if I had questions, then I would go talk to him about what those things were about during office hours or if it was something pressing and then I spent intentional time with them on their professional development plan and had time scheduled out for the year quarterly checking in on their goals. So, they knew that time was coming and I knew it was coming and that made me feel less stressed.
Okay. Let me see if I could get through some more questions. I hope that helped you, Sarah. Debra asked, “Irregular interruptions to answer questions from reports and managing what needs to be reviewed back to them versus my own work.” My life got saved [inaudible 00:56:04] was time-blocked. Two things happened—and it takes time, just so you know—all the things I’m recommending folks take time because you have to train people. Sorry, wrong word. You have to teach people how to treat you.
So, first, I had my calendar open. So, anybody could access it. Then the second thing is I have time blocks. So, it will say, “Time block, writing grant for so and so,” and I have a two-hour block. If somebody came in to ask me a question about them, I say unless there’s a fire that needs to be put out in this moment, meaning the funder is standing at the door or the button has to be sent, I’ll deal with that during the time block I have in the afternoon for that.
At first, folks were kind of salty and there was a little bit of huffing and puffing and so forth. But over time, not only did my coworkers not just on my team but on other teams get used to it, they started to model it too. Then we had a big discussion about it at a senior team meeting. Why do I do it that way? What’s the benefits? We tried it out for a couple of months.
All of a sudden, most of us started doing it more regularly because it makes sense. So, if that’s something that you think that your organizational culture is like where you’re collaborative in that way and if you’re bumping into your office and interrupting, you are more collaborative than you think, then I will suggest something like that.
Okay. “Can this grand idea be applied to a group of volunteers?” Which grand idea, Sarah? Can you drop in what you mean by that? All right. I don’t see any other questions. I don’t know if I missed anything.
“How do you know how much you can delegate to your team without stressing them out too?” Well, does your team know how their job rolls up into your developing goals, how your development goals roll up into your organizational goals. I have found that the stress doesn’t necessarily always stem from the amount of work. It’s about understanding how the work ties into something else. They’re like, “Why are we doing this again?”
So, if you are able to get really clear about what things are important and why and how they fit either within their actual scope in their job description or within their professional development plan because you know most people grow and move up in management and get promoted when they have stretch projects. Then you’re able to communicate how that really impacts what the outcome of work is going to look like and that stress might be temporary, but then it’s about thinking about ways to manage stress. I think that’s important for you to model. I hope that helped you.
All right. I think I might have answered all the questions I see. “What’s a successful one on one look like?” Okay. I think I have time for one more. A successful one on one looks like for me, it is all of the busy work reporting to-dos are done in an actual document and I can read ahead of time, so for example, if I had a one on one with a staff member today at 2:00, I would have had access to their one on one document from yesterday. You always had access to it, but I would have had it since yesterday and I would have read it, I would have dropped my own questions into their one on one document, what do you mean by this? Can you give me some clarification? Let’s discuss this at the meeting tomorrow at 2:00.
And then that would set the tone for what we talked about at our one on one so they knew what was coming. We don’t spend time talking about, “Did you do that? Did you do this?” No. It’s like what you need to do to be able to move your project forward. That’s how I handled my one on ones and I followed a really simple but straightforward three or four questions that I ask every staff member every week. It never changed. So, that’s what I did.
Heidi, “Can you recommend organizational products?” Heidi, drop hints to me what that means, organizational products. “Talk about ways to handle stress.”
Katherine, that is personal to you. What works for me doesn’t work for everybody else. I am a Pilates fanatic and love to go for a walk and do massages. You might feel more energy cooking up a storm and doing brand new recipes. You’ve got to think about what works best for you and then do that thing over and over again.
“Managing tips you recommend for volunteers . . . ” Steven, do we have time for any of these questions? It’s a lot questions. So, I want to make sure I try to get them in, but I know we’re right at 2:00.
Steven: I’m up for a couple more if you are.
Kishshana: Awesome. So, “What managing tips do you recommend for volunteers who are flaky?” Laura, do your volunteers know what their actual role is and why it’s critical or did they sign up because they wanted something to do, question one. Let’s assume that they know what their role is and why it’s important, then I think having a real frank conversation with your volunteers, letting them know.
I do a feedback sandwich, “You are awesome. We are so grateful that you give up your time, that you could be doing something else but work here with us. Here’s what we need in order for this relationship to be successful on our end in order to be able to really hit our goals and here’s how we saw this position helping. Do you see it that way? Do you feel like you’re getting something out of it? Is there something different you could be doing?”
Having that conversation be both open, but directive so they know, “We’ve got to move in this direction in order for this to continue to work for us,” or we’re happy to find something else within the organization for you to do because maybe it doesn’t light your fire.” When you’re a volunteer, you’ve got to get something that lights your fire. So, being able to do that, I think, is really important.
Okay. Online time management tools—there’s all types of Google and Chrome extensions in particular have all kinds of like social media blockers, timers. For me, I literally have a Google calendar, you guys. I have time blocked and I do color coding. I’m like the kid who used to have a gazillion highlighters, I still do, in a pencil case.
So, my calendar looks like a crayon box. So, things are color coded for me. I have alarms that work for me. I still write things down because I’m still very tactile. I’ve just learned what needs to help me move the ball and I get up. Right after our conversation today, I have a 30-minute break built in. Even though it’s freezing outside, I’m going to go for a walk in my neighborhood just because I need the fresh air and I actually have client stuff this afternoon.
So, I just build into my schedule and then taking time what I need to do. Exercise is another good example I’ll give you guys. I do devotion every single morning and I exercise almost every day and I have given myself a goal because I want to get a Peloton bike. So, I have a checklist in front of the bike I have now. I put a gold star on my simple calendar every time I complete. I’m just cheering myself on. It depends on how you—I use old school tools, but there’s tons of online stuff to use. I’ll think about what I can manage, what I can recommend to you.
Heidi you asked online collaboration. That’s everything from using Google Drive effectively to using Asana, Trello—there are lots of online collaboration tools. The challenge that I think we have as organizations is not the cost. It’s the apparent difficulty of using systems. Steven, I’m not sure if in Bloomerang, you guys have time management stuff. I don’t think so, it’s really focused on making sure folks are building out their funding coffers.
But if you think about collaboration tools that work well with your email management system, those would be the ones that would be easiest to integrate and that your team might use the most, but you have got to take the tutorials. Most people never do any of them and they’re so good. If you practice them a few times, you get used to them really easily. Finding ones that work both on your computer and on your phone to me are critical to sticking with it.
Would I be willing to share my one on one report form? Yes, I will. All right. I think those are all the questions I’ve gotten. You guys were amazing.
Steven: That was awesome.
Kishshana: I’m so glad you all stayed with me past 2:00. I know I gave you the floodgates of information. I hope you all were able to hang in there with my quick-tongue New York accent. Yes, the questions and answers will be sent out. So, here are some ways you can stay in touch with me. I put my email up. You have my social and my website. I do lots of coaching and training for organizations throughout the year. I mentioned speaking. So, I’d be happy to talk to your organization about ways I can help you both in person and digitally. Please, please, please feel free to reach out.
Steven: That was awesome. Thank you so much, Kishshana. That was amazing, as I knew it would be. Thanks to you for doing it. I definitely appreciate all the great tidbits and stuff. So, we’ll definitely have to have you back. Thanks to all of you for listening along and taking an hour out of your day. I told you that was going to be a good one. I could not have asked for a better session to kick off our year. I will be sending out all that good stuff. Look for an email from me with the recording and the slides. Lots of great resources on our website as well.
We’re off and running with our webinar series. We are back here one week from today, kind of going to stay on message here with the talent management and HR-related issues. That’s a really cool topic. Ellen Howe and Ashley Holmes are going to join us to talk about what you can do if a development director leaves and you haven’t hired the replacement yet. So, making sure you’re not losing any time or productivity there.
It’s going to be a really good session. I got a peek at the slides earlier this week. It’s going to be a good one. Check it out. We have a ton of other webinar scheduled through 2018 on our webinar page. You will find a topic that interests you. I guarantee it. Check out that page. Hopefully we’ll see you in a week. If not, that’s okay. We’ll see you sometime soon.
We’ll call it a day there. Thanks for hanging out and asking questions. We love it. Hopefully we’ll see you again next week. Have a safe Thursday and a safe weekend. We’ll hopefully talk to you again soon. Bye, now.