The Journey Begins

Thank you for joining me! My first post comes on the heels of a pretty powerful professional experience that has led to some deep soul searching into the recognition that sometimes “it’s just business”. I have been in the consulting world for over a decade and I have spoken those very words to many people regarding their professional careers, but only twice have I needed to remind myself of the reality that it’s not always personal.

As I reflect on my most recent experience where a client asked me to step aside as their project lead, I find myself both relieved and despondent. I am relieved to be removed from a situation that was increasingly confrontational while also despondent because I thrive on connection and the lack of positive connection is hard for me. Perhaps a better way of stating that is that I fear disconnection. (15 months after writing this I read “Dare to Lead” by Brené Brown and learned that this is the very definition of shame. I am thankful to say I am actively working through moving shame out of the driver’s seat in my life). What I must realize is that this is not defeat, it’s just business.

It is customary in our work to engage in long, often arduous, projects with our clients. Therefore, ensuring that the project team is engaged professionally, and shares similar work and communication styles, is vital to the success of the project. At the start of these engagements, I like to prepare the project team for what I call “the inevitable tunnel of darkness” (what is this?) where we are too far into the project to turn back but the end seems so far away. My goal in this discussion is to prepare the project team for times in the project where people may not like me very much because it will appear I am pushing back. A lot. Hopefully, by the time it gets really tough, there will be a level of trust and recognition that I am an advocate for holistic project success and that requires consideration of project-wide goals over personal goals and a willingness to collaborate and sometimes compromise for the sake of greater project success. Unfortunately, this time around, that trust was not strong enough to sustain the tunnel of darkness.

And that is ok. Why?

  • The show will go on. My colleagues are well-equipped to launch this project successfully and our new Project Manager will pick up where I left off
  • It’s just business.

As for me, I know my efforts are not marked with a note of failure. This is a common occurrence where key project resources have differing management styles and we are fortunate enough to have the ability to offer a new resource in hopes for a better connection.

Through this experience, I have become aware that my management style is to empower through positive leadership (the blog’s namesake). It is important to me to lead in a way that promotes people and their individual triumphs for the greater good of not only the project, but the people on the project. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and tips on how to successfully engage and empower people through positive leadership tactics.

I am excited to have you on this journey with me!

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. —Theodore Roosevelt

Published by Empower-Lead

Hello! My name is Karen. I am a mother, a wife, and a Vice President at a strategic consultancy in the non-profit technology space. I desire to seek change in both my personal and professional worlds through empowering positive leadership. I will share my experiences here and look forward to hearing how you empower positive leadership in your life! Personal: My husband, Kyle, and I live in Denver, CO with our two wonderful little girls and black Labrador, Riley. We spend as much time as possible outdoors either hiking, camping, off-roading or enjoying the city of Denver and mountain towns of Colorado. We moved here in 2016 after spending a decade at the beach on the east coast. If we are not in Colorado, we are jet-setting around the U.S. visiting friends and family. Pre-kids, that jet-setting included South America and Europe which we hope to begin again soon! Professional: I have spent the last decade in the non-profit space offering technical leadership guidance and analytical expertise to assist nonprofit organizations achieve maximum impact and efficiency from their technology solutions. What does this mean? I work with senior leadership teams to develop and execute strategic plans that align technology investments and IT services with the needs of national, international and regional offices. What does it really mean? I use both soft skills and analytical skills to assess needs and issues, define business processes, and lead teams in delivering value-driven technology solutions that strengthen the effectiveness of campaigns and operations. Ok, one final try: I work with a bunch of really smart people to help other smart people be better at their jobs by using technology more efficiently and effectively. I do all this for non-profits.

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