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JANUARY 2006 

Centerpoint for Leaders and The Points of Light Foundation's newest e-publication to give you relevant and concise information on leadership and organizational development.


Thoughts From Sandra

My thoughts go out to you for a prosperous and blessed 2006.

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"With the threat of mass casualty terrorism . . . , federal, state and local officials must prepare for what could very well be an event without precedent. Leadership is expected to respond to crisis situations beyond the scope of their immediate professional experience, cope with uncertainty and stress, reach coherent decisions under pressure, and coordinate, articulate and guide the actions of numerous people and organizations." 1 Is this too much to ask?

Harvard University thinks not. They have put together a National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI) to address these very issues. The NPLI consists of three components: 1. A dynamic leadership program for senior officials in federal, state, and local government. 2. A research program whose publications will explore best practices and major questions of preparedness. 3. A convening platform that assembles key government leaders to exchange ideas and build consensus on major policy issues.

Overkill? Well, maybe not. Even without the threat of terrorism or catastrophe, continued development and training is necessary to help leaders respond appropriately no matter what the circumstances, to identify methods of coping and helping others cope with the stress of the unknown and, especially, to reach plausible and workable solutions under extreme pressure.

We've got extreme sports. Is is time for extreme leadership? Leadership has never been harder.

1 National Preparedness Leadership Initiative ? Concluding Seminar for 2005.

Fifty Years in Public Causes: Stories From A Road Less Traveled

by Brian O?Connell

ONE: Help Americans to understand and take pride in the extraordinary degree of participation and generosity that already exists.

TWO: Make It Even Better: Invest in capacity building so that voluntary organizations have a greater chance to fulfill their essential missions.

THREE: Preserve at all costs the necessary independence of voluntary organizations to be vehicles through which citizens express their hopes and dreams and their criticisms and outrage.

FOUR: Recognize and address the alarming shortfalls of citizen participation in democratic government.

FIVE: Teach participatory democracy.

Cited and used with permission from University Press of New England/Tufts University Press. To read the entire article in PDF format, click here. To purchase the book, click here.

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Getting From Here To There

By Dr. John C. Maxwell

My game plan probably doesn't look exactly like yours, because my definition of success might be different from yours. But the fact that we might be following slightly different roadmaps doesn't negate the wisdom of using one in the first place. As the saying goes, if you aim at nothing, you're likely to get it.

Regardless of our position and station in life, following the roadmap means:

1. Knowing where you are at this moment. . . . The key word is reflection.

2. Knowing where you want to go. For me, success is knowing my purpose in life . . .

3. Understanding that life happens between where you are at this moment and where you want to go, and that it's the "between where you are and where you want to go" that causes people to miss life.

Cited and used with permission from Leadership Wired. To read the entire article, click here.

Good Work Attracts Good Money

by Steven E. Mayer

The clear lack of importance attached to community leadership, demonstrated by the lack of staffing, speaks volumes about the current focus of community foundations: It is to bring in and hold money, almost entirely.

To be sure, money is distributed in the form of grants, but grant making has been reduced to a clerical operation: A brochure from the development department tells the donor that he or she can recommend that the foundation make a grant to any bona fide tax-exempt organization, and the community foundation will make the gift happen. The entire transaction can all be done by computer, with no intervening messy conversations with staff members about community issues whatsoever.

The lack of attention to community leadership is a direct result of the way community foundations choose to respond to competition from commercial financial-services companies that offer charitable-giving services . . . for that service, they charge a modest fee, lower than that offered by community foundations.

Cited and used with permission from Chronicle of Philanthropy. To read the entire article in PDF format, click here.

A Monochronic/Polychronic Self Test

by Dr. William Guillory

The interpretation of scores for this self-test (no one needs to know your score) goes from people who, according to Dr. Guillory, ". . . are inclined to communicate impersonally and in low context . . . [whose] decision making tends to be individualistic, timely, and based on their position of influence within the organization" to those who feel that "the essence of leadership is the subtle balance of group consensus and personal vision."

Cited and used with permission from Innovations International. To review and download the entire checklist, click here.