Feb. 18: The soul crushing starts at 12 months

*Jen Love added Kimberley MacKenzie to the chat*

Jen

Good Morning/Afternoon!

John

giddyup

Jen

Hope everyone is well today.

Simon

M’aftern’ing

Jen

I’m delighted to welcome our guest lobster, the one and only Kimberley MacKenzie!

Kimberley

Hey!

Simon

Hello KmacK

John

hello KM! welcome.

Kimberley

Thanks Jen…nice to be here.

Interesting platform….

Jen

The lovely Beate will do an edit on our worst typos…wish she was here today but she is with her family and we send lobster love to them all!

So I asked my friend and colleague KM to join us today because I want to talk about something that is really a big part of her thinking and work…

And that’s around managing change within organizations.

John

didnt you use a fancier name for it earlier?

Jen

I think I called it change management

and then you (John) rolled your eyes at me

Kimberley

Jargonny….

John

i get “managing change…”

Jen

So maybe managing change makes it more approachable

So I wanted to start if we could all have a brief reflection on what “managing change” means…

Kimberley

I like “influencing change”

Jen

OOOH KM out of the gate with better lingo

Talk to us about that

John

did we get KM to take the keystoke test btw?

Kimberley

Well if we see ourselves (Fundraisers) as being an influencer it sets our ego aside and puts us in a position of service to the organization.

But Influence is better.

We don’t “manage” anyone.

Simon

Don’t we all influence everything?

Kimberley

Yes. I think we do. Positive or negative.

So what kind of influence do we want to have?

John

don’t we all know people at orgs who want to NOT influence anything or anyone? keep their head down? stay away from change? conflict?

Kimberley

I think it is a mindset that needs to shift if real change can happen.

Simon

But everyone thinks they have a positive influence

Kimberley

And yet results would say otherwise.

Simon

Nobody sets out to negative

Jen

You’re right that no one wants to be a negative influence, but putting your head down and avoiding change or conflict definitely is a challenge

Kimberley

I think a lot of fundraisers are frustrated and stuck that their organizations, staff, management, boards aren’t just doing what they say.

Fundraisers are often seen as a magic bullet to every problem in the organization.

Jen

and it’s easier and safer to say “well, I’ll just do my job and I’ll do 2% better than last year”

Kimberley

That feels pretty good at the beginning.

Jen

Lots to unpack already!

Because part of the problem with the whole influencing change is getting a new fundraising leader and putting all your hopes on them!

Kimberley

Exactly.

Jen

So the pressure cooker starts even before your day 1 at a job… right?

Kimberley

And when real change takes about 24 months and the average turnover rate for senior fundraisers is 18 months no actually change happens

Jen

Ok this is the good shit

KM unpack that for me… that timetable of 24 months to change and 18 months on staff…

Kimberley

Here is the cycle: First six months: New fundraiser – everyone hopeful – honeymoon.

Next six months – rolling up the sleeves and building a fundraising plan. – optimism.

Jen

(and a good fundraiser will spend their first 6 months listening and building trust)

Kimberley

Yeah that’s the fun part.

Everyone loves their job then.

John

when does the soul crushing start?

Kimberley

12 months.

sometimes nine

Simon

God in the first 6 months you’re still getting to grips with where to have lunch

John

this feels like a story i hear over and over

Jen

And in some orgs you haven’t even met your board members or major donors in the first 6 months

Simon

Some fundraisers never get to meet board members

Kimberley

When it comes time to implement the plan and everyone realizes they they need to shift/change their status quo to raise more money.

Last 6 months….”I need to get the fuck out of here or my career is toast”….”let me throw all my talent and energy into my volunteer work so my colleagues will know how awesome I am and I can get a new job.”

Jen

Ooooofff

Kimberley

It is systemic and tragic and happens over and over and over again.

We puff each other up at conferences so we can go back to dysfunctional organizations.

John

😭

Kimberley

I don’t think it has to be that way.

In fact I know it doesn’t. We need to go upstream. We need to influence change.

Simon

Are fundraisers not getting the right support at conferences?

Like they’re just told this and this and this needs to change

Then back to reality it’s not so easy

Kimberley

We need to see ourselves at the centre of ….

Jen

I think there is a lot of truth in that about conferences and then going back and realizing that influencing change/implementing new ideas is the really hard work

Kimberley

Well…my frustration is certainly that we go, feel better and then it falls flat when we get back to our offices….I think there’s a podcast about that somewhere. 😘

Jen

getting fired up and inspired is the easier part…doing the work in our own charities is much harder

Simon

“From change maker to change manager”

Conference tagline

“From fired up to fired”

Jen

Good one! I’d attend that!

HAHA the first one

John

😂

Jen

I’d like to ask you about your experience being influencer of change… perhaps with a specific project…

Kimberley

What? like when a consultant brings you a wacky idea….and it’s your job to implement?

John

haha

Jen

Yes, like that. Or anything in that vein.

Kimberley

Let’s talk about John.

John

your honour: i find these questions leading…

Jen

(bangs gavel) overruled!

Kimberley

I will never forget the time I was a director of fundraising and John was my primary agent at that time…..

Yes…we have worked for pretty much my entire career I think.

John

truth! what a beautiful adventure!

Kimberley

Anyway – on this particular appeal – John suggested we NOT use org branding for the package and that the letter not come from the ED.

Simon

Did John deliver with his usual sass?

Kimberley

Yup full of attitude.

In fact. On this occasion John suggested the letter come from a bird.

I’ll never forget the my response on the phone….

john do you remember?

John

no…

silence?

Simon

Haha

Kimberley

“What the FUCK! How the hell am I supposed to get the director of communications to agree not only to no branding but to a return postage of bird prints!!!” You are fucking crazy.

I had this wave of….cool idea. I have no idea how to get people onside with it.

John

😬

Jen

Yep, that’s how i recall it. Verified!

So what did you do? what were your steps?

This is part of the untold story of Ruby the Hummingbird… And I love it!

John

Here’s the “told story”, on SOFII:

Jen

Thanks John! So helpful!

John

I’m here to serve.

Kimberley

That appeal wasn’t just a cool appeal. (that is the story that gets mostly told) That appeal was a shift in the organizational culture. And it required me taking a step back and thinking about thow to influence the change.

Who to get onside?

How to convince folks it was a good idea.

Simon

Without knowing if it was a good idea?

Kimberley

By that point trust had already been built. Trust from me that my consultant was smart and I wanted to try it.

I trusted John.

John

such a key component to working with any supplier/partner!

Simon

Do you still trust John?

John

lol

Kimberley

Well…I’ve worked primarily with Jen since then.

😂

Jen

^^delightful burn

Kimberley

Man this chat goes fast…

Here’s the thing.

When we approach our job as being influencers of change and building trust. We can get alignment around all sorts of wacky new innovative ideas.

And there is a systematic approach to doing that that I think more development folks could benefit from. And as a result they would be more satisfied and more successful in their jobs.

It starts with being humble.

And asking folks – what do you need? How can I help? If you had all the resources you need what would you do?

Jen

Goddess yes, humility and curiosity are the soft skills that fundraisers (and human beings) need to be intentional about…

Kimberley

If we set our ego aside and lift up others. Like program staff, executive director, board members, we create alliances around a positive vision for change. Then we spread that vision, empower action across the organization

get some quick wins and build on that.

That’s what happened with the Ruby appeal.

That is why that organization now has mind blowing growth and they have a solid fundraising program

Cool innovative idea + humility in house + positive results = win for everyone and the world changes…..or at least a small piece of it.

John

They obviously trusted you as well KM. you knew your stuff, I think you always do a good job at managing expectations… that’s why they are where they are now

Kimberley

Thanks john.

Imagine if we all could do that.

Simon

Imagine

Jen

Imagine!

OK lobsters

lots more to unpack…might need a do-over on this topic down the road!

John

roger.

Kimberley

I’m here anytime.

Jen

First, big thanks to our guest lobster, Kimberley… we appreciate you!

Kimberley

thanks for the invite. It’s fun hanging with you folks!

John

❤ Thanks KM

Jen

Lets we wind down with a lobster fact

And today it makes SO much sense for our lobster fact to be about…

MOLTING!

John

mmm

molting

Jen

Lobsters have a built-in process for change.

Simon

Wow

Great research

John

lol

Jen

Lobsters grow by molting. This is the process in which they struggle out of their old shells while absorbing water, which expands their body size. This molting, or shell-shedding, occurs about 25 times in the first 5–7 years of life.

John

just like Jen.

Simon

Are they happy about it tho?

Jen

So here’s where it gets even more interesting

Kimberley

okay – nice lobster fact Jen. Perfect!

There’s more?

John

ooo

Jen

KM, my fierce feminist friend, there is more

Female lobsters can only mate just after she has molted. Reproduction (and enjoyment of lobster sex) is ONLY possible because of change!

Simon

Like roleplay?

John

LOL

Jen

So those of you who watch the chatcast know that we often boot out the guest in a shocking way

but today…

*Jen Love removed Simon Scriver from the chat*

Jen

Simon gets removed for a dumb role playing joke

Did this chat make you laugh? Or think? Find us annoying? You should totally share that with your friends.

Join the conversation

2 Comments

  1. #loberchat is my everything. I love how the group grinds through topics like trust and influence.
    Is there one or two resources Kimberley and the group would recommend for managing change, influence, and building trust?

    1. Dear Jessie-Lee,
      Thank you for your comment. Lobster Chat is a very interesting platform that’s for sure!

      When it came to learning about the concept of change management and influence my learning mostly came for being a bull in a china shop! I’d try and force best practice on my colleagues and bang my head against the wall wondering why the heck no one was doing what I said! A little humility at that time went a long way to gaining influence.
      Since then I’ve learned that the road can be easier and I started looking beyond civil society to business books and gurus like John Kotter (Leading Change) and Jim Collins (Good to Great).

      While working on my conference workshops on this topic I came across a few white papers on Ethical Leadership online. It is a fascinating topic and a leadership style that I think the world at large could really benefit from right now. A quick search will help you uncover some great peer reviewed white papers.

      For a quick fix of additional reading you might be interested in this article I wrote a while back. http://kimberleymackenzie.ca/ethical-leadership-are-you-humble-enough-for-it
      Feel free to reach out if you want to discuss your situation further. How we (fundraisers) can become better leaders and help influence more positive changes in the world is something I am very passionate about! All the best. KM

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