All leaders need trusted strategic advisors. In Why Should the Boss Listen to You? The Seven Disciplines of the Trusted Strategic Advisor
(©2008, Jossey Bass), author James E. Lukaszewski lays out the steps a number two person in an organization needs to take to have a serious influence on his or her boss. Among his advice:
- Prepare work product in final form. It should be your best, most complete effort.
- Look at situations from a perspective other than the one the boss has-this leads to interesting, productive discussions that ultimately benefit the client with new ideas and approaches;
- Think, write, and speak in numbers, bullets, and series;
- Bring your stories, experiences, and personal history to work-often they reflect an approach or strategy you're trying to explain to a client;
- Recognize, acknowledge, and learn from the mistakes, missteps, gaffes, and goofs you make, then move on;
- Be solution driven;
- Be prepared to explain-succinctly and convincingly-your suggestions, proposals, and recommendations;
- Remain one step ahead and 15 minutes early;
- Anticipate issues, problems, concerns, and opportunities; have a plan;
- Recognize that not every event is a crisis, but respond as if every event were a crisis;
- Speaking for the sake of speaking is unmemorable, so say important things.
Alexis Carter-Black, author of Getting Grants
(©2006, Self-Counsel Press), argues that no matter the type of organization, there is a direct relationship between the organization's internal proposal development process and how successful the organization is at securing grant funding. The book deals with the how and where to find sources of funding; pre-proposals planning and development stage; components of a grant proposal; role of the grant writer and/or grants office in an organization; and proposal writing. The book includes a CD with forms, job descriptions, rules for a grants office, and excerpts from successfully funded proposals.
Bad things happen to good organizations every day. Those organizations that have prepared for that day ahead of time that will be able to survive a crisis and, perhaps, even end up with an enhanced reputation after it is over. Keeping Cool on the Hot Seat: Dealing Effectively with the Media in Times of Crisis
(Four C's Publishing Co., ©2008), by Judith C. Hoffman, helps executives prepare for potential crisis so that you can make the best impression for yourself and your association. The books covers assembling a crisis management team, fielding a well-trained spokesperson, and moving from questions reporters ask to answers you want to convey.
Member or customer complaints are a valuable feedback mechanism that can help organizations rapidly and inexpensively strengthen products and services. Janelle Barlow and Clauss Møller, authors of A Complaint is a Gift (©2008, Berrett-Koehler Publishers), suggest that instead of looking at complaints as proof of failure, organizations should view them as strategic tools to help define what members or customers want. The books presents case studies, detailing how to find out what people are saying about you, how to create goodwill, and respond to complaints.'
Putting our differences to work means creating an environment where people, naturally unique, can work more effectively in ways that drive new levels of creativity, innovation, problem solving, leadership, and performance. Debbe Kennedy, author of Putting Our Differences to Work: The Fastest Way to Innovation, Leadership and High Performance (©2008, Berrett-Koehler Publishers), shows how to make all the dimension of difference-such as thinking styles, perspectives, experiences, work habits, and management styles, as well as more traditional diversity considerations like gender, race, ethnicity, physical abilities, sexual orientation, and age-tremendous sources of strength. She identifies five qualities of leaders who value differences. They are people who: make diversity an organizational priority; get to know people and their differences; enable rich communication; hold personal responsibility as a core value; and establish mutualism as the final arbiter.