That was the opening question at my Harvard Business School course on Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management. How many times a day do you get asked this question? I had already answered it at least 20 times today as I met the other students in the class. As part of the registration process we had all described what our charities do, and now the prof had gone through our answers and preselected who he wanted to ask this question of, “What do you do?” Most of the people answered with a description of their services or programs. More
One of the professors here at Harvard is an exceptionally good fundraiser. His track record is outstanding. When he speaks at fundraising events, he believes he should be upfront about his role. That way no one is surprised when he asks for money. He often introduces himself saying, “I am in the business of picking pockets and rolling drunks.” With a little humour, he’s established his role. More
Life at Harvard continues at an unbelievable pace – but it is great! I’m enjoying every minute of it. Today one of the discussions was about a leader who thought he knew what the answer was, but didn’t know that he didn’t really know what was really going on. Hmm, how can you know what you don’t know?
You can’t of course, but you can protect yourself by being more curious than you think you need to be. Ask questions. Here’s a funny example of what happens when you assume you know the answer and don’t ask any questions. More