When your mind is always forming words and your heart is always in the writing mode, amazing little blogging tidbits come your way through various means, and they have a way of hitting at the most inopportune moments. Here I am reading and researching board governance procedures and policies for work – and my blogger “aha” moment hits! This time it was while reviewing the “Challenge the Status Quo” July newsletter provided by Dan Clark Associates LLC. They write from the non-profit and credit union perspective and cover topics related to board governance and planning. Although they are an American based organization and their perspective is geared toward US business, their insight on board issues and organizational processes is universal. I have found many intriguing arguments and solutions through reading their newsletter and applying it – to our own organization, while on the job, through my writing, or as a volunteer board member – is invaluable. The point that caught my attention and drifted away with me on another tangent was… “When you have been silent in your dissent, you cheat everyone of the wisdom that might save the day. If you abstain, you are voting with the majority. If you vote “yea” just to go along, you have violated the trust that others placed in you when voting or appointing you to your position.”
The article based its premise on being independent – being an individual, having your own ideas and the willingness to stand up to share them and stand behind them. That often means being a minority in a group, being one alone in a team, being odd person out… but if you truly believe in your own ideas and how they will benefit whatever it is you are representing, you have to be willing to persuade others to see your point. It does not mean doing so in a pushy way, or only to get your own way, or coercing others to the detriment of the greater good. It is not for personal gain; it is not about a standoff. It is about providing the necessary details and information to back up your idea, identifying the necessary resources to carry out your idea, and offering enough persuasion so others might see your way. It also means that if you don’t agree with something, say so. Make your voice heard and vote “nay” even if you are alone – “the price of a “nay” vote is the explanation of your views.”
The above application is best evidenced in board meetings or corporations where decision making drives the business direction. But decision making applies to our everyday life and you don’t have to be a member of the board to influence decision. Around you lives decision and those who make it – there those who speak out and those who are silent; those who direct and those who succumb to direction; those who lead and those who follow.
So as it goes with life, so too, our decision to follow our dreams. You will encounter obstacles, there is no doubt – but if you hold to your convictions, provide a compelling defense to support your independent claims, follow your heart yet be a leader – then you live as you need to when engulfed with a passion… you are an individual. You can influence decision rather than be bound to it, after the fact. Input becomes important because you realize your voice is just as important as those around you. Being a team player does not mean losing your own identity, whatever or whoever comprises the team. Being a team player means realizing you are independent even when you are not alone.
“Leaders are change agents – it’s their job to decide the right things to do as times change.”