November 12, 2012

You Can't Control Engagement

I've facilitated many conversations lately with volunteers and staff members lamenting their inability to attract and engage a significant number of younger generation potential leaders.

Their concern is admirable. Their desire to reach out is genuine. Unfortunately they continue to offer only the same involvement entry points and pathways that they themselves would find desirable. And so, their efforts yield poor returns.

Their frustration could be replaced with enthusiasm due to achieving different results if only they would heed this sound advice from Margaret Wheatley:
"Those with the means to support new leaders often complicate their pioneering work by wanting them to use familiar and traditional leadership practices."
We are unlikely to fully engage others if we insist on having their involvement conform to our terms and our time. Most organizations daily waste the talent and interests of their members and stakeholders by limiting their ability to contribute to mission-centered efforts. Savvy leaders will maintain traditional volunteer involvement pathways that remain productive while simultaneously unleashing the potential floodgates of interest through less cumbersome and more episodic means for getting involved.

No comments: