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Questions and Listening

posted Nov 28, 2015, 6:50 AM by Rebecca Baumann
As a consultant, although I come with a lot of experience and knowledge, my first job is to listen.  I listen to foundations:  Who are they, and what do they want to fund?  I listen to my client nonprofits: What do they do?  What makes them unique?  What do they need to be more successful?  I listen to the executive directors:  What are the obvious challenges in their organization?  How are they felling about their progress?  What else is happening in their lives?  And I listen to board members:  How well do they understand their roles as a board member?  Why are they serving? How much more are they willing to give?

Along with listening is learning to ask the right questions.  If we can ask the right question, the answer will more easily appear, but we need to listen—without judgement and without assuming the answers.

From this rich point of information, I can assist with the next best step.

Quite a few years ago, before the benefit of GPS, my sister and I were in an unfamiliar part of rural Ohio with what we thought were good directions to find our destination.  We were mistaken, however, about which way to turn at the end of the driveway and at the very start, headed off in the wrong direction.  Needless to say, every turn thereafter only led us into new variations of being lost.

To avoid being lost with your first steps in grant writing, board development, strategic development or job fulfillment, take some time to listen, ask good questions, and then plan your direction with informed consideration and confidence.