It’s a Strategic Sort of Thing
Call me wonky or nerdy, but I love to learn new things and new approaches to time-honored theories. I also enjoy sharing what I’ve learned, in the hope that others will find it useful, without having to devote their time to taking the class or reading the book themselves. Professional development is an important way for me to stay current on the latest techniques and thinking.
That’s why I want to share some of what I am learning in my latest professional development endeavor, particularly because it has helped me think in a more focused way about implementing CAMP Rehoboth’s new strategic plan. The class, “Connected Leadership,” is offered online through Coursera, by Dr. Peter Boyd, a lecturer at Yale School of the Environment and Resident Fellow of Yale Center for Business and the Environment.
From the syllabus: “This course is designed to maximize your ability to create change at the individual, team and system levels. Through study, reflection, and deploying practical tools, you will establish a firm connection between your clearly articulated Purpose, effective Priorities, visualized Potential for success, and pathway to maximized Progress.”
According to Dr. Boyd, connected leadership is purpose-driven leadership by which one leads from within. When engaging in connected leadership, one is anchored to one’s individual purpose, and works from one’s personal values in service of the greater world. Daring and transformative leaders share power with others and empower and inspire people to develop their own “power within.” They know their “why” and lead from that position.
For CAMP Rehoboth, our “why” is our mission statement. That’s why the 2024-2028 Strategic Plan includes a refresh to our mission statement, to our “why.” It now clearly defines what the acronym “CAMP” stands for, better reflects what CAMP Rehoboth actually is (a community center) and expands the breadth of who we want to serve (Southern Delaware and beyond), while still maintaining our core “why” in the last sentence. The new mission statement is:
CAMP Rehoboth is an LGBTQ+ community center dedicated to Creating A More Positive (CAMP) environment that is inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities in Southern Delaware and beyond. CAMP Rehoboth seeks to promote cooperation, understanding among all people, and wellbeing, as CAMP Rehoboth continues its work to build a safer community with room for all.
Pretty sleek and incredibly meaningful, right? That’s what a “why” statement should be!
Knowing the “why” helps one define one’s priorities for the short and long term. Dr. Boyd analogizes priority setting with placing rocks in a jar, together with pebbles and sand. The jar is the planning timeframe, the rocks are one’s priorities, the pebbles are one’s less important tasks or other people’s rocks that are trying to get into one’s jar, and the sand is the distractions that suck time away from the rocks.
Naming the rocks is the process of defining one’s priorities. The rocks should be crucially connected to one’s purpose and limited in number from three to five. One’s priorities should be chosen with emotion, and named with care in a way that brings each priority to life. When one’s life is anchored by one’s priorities, one can live each day as one wants, instead of living in a way that is governed by other people’s priorities and short-term tasks that suck time away from achieving one’s own long-term goals.
When choosing the priorities (rocks) for CAMP’s strategic plan, we realized that if we want to get something done, we must prioritize it. Conversely, things that are not prioritized may forever be parked on the back burner.
Using Dr. Boyd’s rocks-in-a-jar analogy for CAMP Rehoboth’s Strategic Planning, the “jar” is the 2024-2028 timeframe, and the rocks are our four strategic priorities: 1) maximizing the impact of our programs, 2) building a diversified and sustainable funding plan, 3) increasing and broadening our community engagement, and 4) strengthening board governance and staff leadership.
Focused on these priorities, without letting too many pebbles or sand get in the way, we are already off to a great start. Our physical campus is undergoing substantial renovations, giving us a fresh, modernized, and accessible physical space for program delivery. Updates to our donor software are enabling us to better analyze existing funding sources and identify new ones. Executive Director Kim Leisey’s extensive outreach to community partners is helping us learn how we can cooperate with and mutually benefit each other. And being accepted into the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement’s Accelerator Training Program is a huge boost for board and staff professional development.
Stay tuned to this space for more, as we continue to utilize “connected leadership” to achieve our strategic planning goals. ▼
Leslie Ledogar is CAMP Rehoboth Board Vice President.