Updated: Apr 29
As a nonprofit leader with a decade and a half of experience, I've noticed a common theme amongst organizations: each tries to exist between two points echoed in contemplative studies: the heart and the mind. The heart connects us to others and catalyzes the mission, but that momentum, no matter how beautiful and bold, runs into the practical realities of business, which are tasks better met by the mind. Organizations with too much heart run the risk of perpetually shaky ground, and those with too much mind become mechanistic and dry, always trying to improve but never seeming to get there. The real task (for all of us) is finding the balance between the two.
But how do we find our balance?
While there are many answers to that question, the contemplative approach starts with a pause and follows with an inquiry because we must first ask great questions to get great answers. Here's an example: the following questions are nearly identical but point toward different outcomes.
What training can I find for developing leaders?
What training can I find for developing compassionate leaders?"
The difference is minor, but the impact is major. By adding a single word, we have set forth a different, more specific course that has a greater chance of aligning with your organizational truth, assuming you value compassion, of course.
The initial inquiries start with an organizational assessment, including who you are and what you really do. Expanding from that point, the process uncovers and illuminates core values that become their own inquiries that team members can employ throughout the day to improve workflows, create cohesion, and harness a spirit of innovation.
Having laid the groundwork, there may still be some hard skills that the team would benefit from learning. In most of the nonprofits I've known, each has leaders who are great but have yet to experience leadership training. Many teams also have members with heart-driven ideas of how to allocate resources but have never been near a budget, and every organization has staff that doubts their abilities while sitting on a wealth of wisdom. Contemplative consulting, in addition to the inquiry tools, also includes training that brings practical skills and solutions in response to each of the areas mentioned above, as well as personal coaching and consultation to ensure lasting change.
If you are a member of an organization looking to know your truth to improve outcomes, morale, and workflow, please reach out so we can set up a call and discuss how contemplative consulting can give your team the balance it needs to fulfill its mission.
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