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Because I’m 50

warning 50


I’ve waited 50 years to for this moment. It took 50 years to reach a point of appreciation, understanding, acceptance and/or agreement with a variety of life lessons that I have been taught, told or experienced.

Sitting here this morning I realize that 50 is more than a birthday – it’s a platform, it’s a stage, it’s a milestone. In my opinion, reaching this milestone gives me the chronological credibility to share some lessons learned. Sure, I could have shared this at 49, but it just feels better sharing it at 50. For some, this will be news, for others it will be validation and for many more it’ll be comic relief.

So, here we go – what can I tell you about 50?

  1. I have to monitor my “Discretion Filter”. Things I used to think in my head, I just say it out loud in real-time.
  2. I have a bedtime again. When I was 35 I never said, “That’s past my bed time.” Going to an event in my 30’s I would ask, “When does it start?” Now I ask, “When does it end?” It has to be really special to keep me out past my bedtime.
  3. Hair stops growing where it should and starts growing where it shouldn’t. I don’t understand the functionality of hair in noses or on ears.
  4. Things that should stay soft get hard and things that should be hard start to get soft. I went to get a pedicure and my heels were rock hard. What did you think I was talking about?
  5. Hire a food taster. I swear someone is putting something in my food the older I get, because it’s now making me sick. Honey Buns never upset my stomach when I was in Middle School.
  6. I watch my children eating food that I wish I could eat again. Those teenage sons can eat anything and not gain an ounce of weight? Sometimes I just want to mush them in the face.
  7. The attractive young lady in the store makes eye contact, smiles and walks my way.  I secretly say to myself, “I still got it” – then she says, “Sir, aren’t you Doug’s dad?” I cuss under my breath and go home and mush my son in the face.
  8. You start drinking coffee for more than just the taste. Especially early in the morning. That’s all I’ll say here – if you’re over 50 you should understand.
  9. In my 30’s the only “Regular” I worried about was the gasoline in my car. (See #8 above to figure this out). Still don’t know? Ask someone over 50.
  10. Sometimes I go to the gym and sit in the locker room and just talk to people for an hour. Hey, at least I go to the gym.  All of you know that one dude that you never see working out, but he’s always in the locker room getting undressed and talking to everybody?? I bet he’s over 50.
  11. “Because I’m 50” is now the standard answer to justify whatever I want or do. But this only works on people 49 or below.

Happy Birthday to ME.

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Lessons from Cynthia Radford – SCANPO #NPSummit2015

This morning Cynthia Radford kicked off the SCANPO conference by giving us a great overview of the Leadership Challenge.  Cynthia did a phenomenal job condensing two days of information into 2 hours of meaningful and enriching dialogue.  For those that could not be in attendance here’s a snap shot of what I heard/learned.  Hope this is helpful to you.
  1. Leaders are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
  2. The 4 qualities of admired leaders are: Honesty, Forward Looking, Inspiring, and Competent.
  3. There’s a deep human yearning to make a difference.  Leaders set the stage for people to meet this need.
  4. Our job as a leader is to get everyone pointing in the same direction.
  5. Leaders are expected to be credible and have a vision.
  6. Leaders get people to struggle together toward the same goal/cause.
  7. Clearly articulated goals can draw other people in. Engaging opportunities can pull folks in to serve a greater cause.
  8. We must learn how to put common sense into common practice.
  9. Leaders must predict the impact of change.
  10. A desk is dangerous place to try and see the world.  Get out there and look around. Can’t stay tethered to the desk.
  11. We need competitive compensation packages to attract and retain high quality, competent people in the nonprofit sector.
  12. Asking disruptive questions requires courage.  It may aggravate people, but it must be done.
  13. Leadership isn’t a solo act.
  14. Trim back the bureaucracy and cut back the silly rules when you can.
  15. If we show trust in others, it’s usually reciprocated.
  16. Folks who can’t trust others will never be effective leaders.
  17. Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.
  18. Reflect on your experiences to discover what enables you and what disables you.
  19. Active listening will build trust and collaboration.
  20. What’s the most meaningful way I can recognize someone?  Great question to consider. Think about the ways that you say thanks in authentic ways.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot.
  21. Sustainable organizations cultivate leadership at all levels.
  22. Love em’ and Lead em’

The above nuggets of wisdom should serve as a reminder of what we’re able to do to improve our leadership effectiveness.  Thanks Cynthia.

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Coalition Building Do’s and Don’ts

Coalition Do’s and Don’ts

Here are a few do’s and don’ts I’d suggest your community coalition consider.  Hope this is helpful.


  • Be inclusive – don’t limit the types of organizations and individuals to approach for membership, based upon your personal interests.  If it’s a “community” coalition, invite the community stakeholders, even those who have a different opinion than you.
  • Develop relationships beyond your comfort zone.
  • Define coalition purpose, structure, and processes.
  • Use technology (i.e. Social Media) to your benefit.
  • Understand the needs and concerns of each prospective members and organizations. Make sure everyone understands what the coalition is trying to accomplish and how you think they can help. Larger organizations usually need time to plan and include coalition activities within their current work. Be patient — this seems to be a recurring theme, but a necessary one.
  • Be very clear about the roles and responsibilities of the coalition. People need to understand what is expected of them. They can help develop a work plan, but that should be included in their roles and responsibilities. Ambiguity only leads to confusion and this can cause people to drop out of the coalition.
  • Develop specific activities for members to accomplish. The best way to keep people involved and motivated is to give them responsibilities to fulfill and make sure their tasks are short and sweet.
  • Ask for ideas, suggestions, and help. When asking for help and assistance, the organizer or leader needs to be a facilitator, not a speaker. That individual also needs to make sure all coalition members offer their views, and that people who might be shy are called upon to give their opinions.
  • Keeping track of every suggestion. Make sure that everyone’s opinion and view is counted.
  • Listen to the community.  Let people know their opinions are valued and their contribution is important.
  • Keep the lines of communication open.  Consistently keep your members informed and up-to-date.


  • Allow funding to de-rail your coalition efforts and cause mission drift.
  • Expect everybody to drop everything to join your coalition.
  • Trick people into serving on your coalition.  Tell them the Good, the Bad and the Ugly up front.
  • Be demanding – you can’t make anyone do anything. Patience is a virtue in Coalition building.
  • Violate the trust of members and/or the community at large.
  • Confuse people — state plans clearly and concisely.
  • Lecture — you are not in a classroom. If you’re facilitating this effort, you need to listen more than you talk.
  • Waste time — people are too busy.
  • Forget reminders – when sending out a meeting notice, follow-up with a phone call the day before the meeting to remind people.
  • Meet just to meet.


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