Success Tip: Lead–Grow–Volunteer

February 13, 2011

Often when I am speaking with an audience or sharing ideas with leaders and  entrepreneurs, I hear a question that starts like this: “How did you get people to give you a chance to …”

It’s a recurring theme.  We want to lead. We want to grow. We want to make a a difference.  So, how do we get people to give us a chance to do it?  In 2010, I had the opportunity to  share ideas with the Society of Women Engineers.  We we focused on the 5  C’s that build success. One of those C’s is Community.  Here is what happens when you get involved in your community and volunteer.

 

Keynote–Society of Women Engineers–2010–Joan Koerber-Walker, Chairman of CorePurpose, Inc.

Lead – Grow – Volunteer

We don’t need to be labeled “a leader” to lead.  Just as we don’t need someone else’s permission to develop our skills and grow.  What we do need are opportunities to showcase our leadership ability and talents.  Although are not many fairy godmothers out there who can wave a magic wand and make an opportunity materialize before our very eyes, there is something we can do that works like magic and makes us feel great too.  One simple word.  Volunteer.

Over the years, through a number of volunteer activities,  I have had the opportunity to share ideas on network television, land radio interviews, be profiled in newspapers and magazines and connect with key decision makers, customers and partners who I might otherwise have never met. By volunteering to do what I could do, I got the chance to do it.  People noticed and more opportunities followed.  Those opportunities created more opportunities.  Pretty soon, I was not just leading, I was doing it officially as “the leader.”   It all came about because of volunteer work done in my community or where I worked.  If it can work for me, it can work for you.  Just follow these two simple steps.

Establish yourself as a leader.

A leader is someone who stands out above the rest.  We all have talents that we can share that help us to stand out.  Perhaps your talent is organization, team building, networking, writing, or simply listening.  Maybe your gift is mentoring, speaking, or a special set of technical or business skills Think of ways that sharing these talents and gifts can help a nonprofit organization that you believe in.  Step up, stand out and lead in whatever role you are given.

Roll up your sleeves and show ’em what you can do.

In today’s economy, nonprofit budgets are stretched to the limit.  There is almost nothing they do not need.  Does your business have great consumer products or services?  Donate them to gift baskets, silent auctions or raffles.  Do you provide business services? Donate them to the nonprofit itself to help in reducing overhead costs. In each case you are getting yourself and your products or services in front of others who may want to work with  you in the future.  Often this is the supporters, board members, donors, or sponsors of the organization.  The nonprofit may not have the resources to pay for your donations and services, but these people do.  When you do a great job or deliver a great product, people notice and even better… they tell their friends.

Volunteering is not only a philanthropic activity.  In our workplace, there are lots of opportunities to step forward and volunteer.  Perhaps it is on a committee, in a new project that looks a little risky, or even to give a customer a hand on a project that they are not able to pay you for.  Sometimes when we take on one more project, we feel we keep giving and giving and nothing is happening.  But that is NOT the case.  

Here comes the magic…

While you are giving you are also growing both in experience and influence. The more you give, the more you get.

While you are sharing what you have of value, you are getting value too…

New skills you learn while working with others in your community or workplace.

Connections to other leaders who share the same passions and values that you do.

Recognition for your efforts and the value you contribute to the cause or project.

Visibility for yourself and your business

The opportunity to represent the organization in your community

The chance you thought someone needed to give you.  You did not need someone  to give it to you after all. You gave it to yourself. 

That’s the great thing about magic.  It makes anything possible.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Special Announcement: 

Please join me with Lolly Daskal and the gang on the #LeadFromWithin Tweet Chat this Tuesday (February 15, 2011) at 8 PM EST. 

This is my chance to volunteer and help lead the discussion with a group of wonderful people from around the Twitterverse on how to #LeadFromWithin.  Lolly and I talked about it and decided that exchanging ideas on what happens to us as leaders when we volunteer was a perfect topic for the day after Valentine’s day.  I hope you will volunteer to join us, roll up your sleeves and show us what YOU can do by adding your ideas to the tweet chat discussion.  It’s easy to do and free of charge.  Just sign in with your Twitter ID at www.TweetChat.com at 8PM EST on 2/27/2011.  Put in the #LeadFromWithin hashtag at the top and when I post a question – share an answer.  See you then.

 

Joan Koerber-Walker is a two time Stevie Award National Finalist and Chairman of the Board of CorePurpose, Inc. and the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation.  She also serves as Executive in Residence for Callaman Ventures and on the boards of for profit and nonprofit organizations.  As the former CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association and a past member of the Board of Trustees of the National Small Business Association she has worked with hundreds of small businesses and on behalf of thousands.  Chat with her on Twitter as @joankw, @JKWgrowth, @JKWinnovation, @JKWleadership and@CorePurpose or at her blog at www.JoanKoerber-Walker.com.

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Success Tip: Know what you want to be…and why

January 24, 2011

Whether you are charting the course for your personal career or the path your company will follow, there are two questions that have a significant impact on future success:

  • What do you want to be?
  • Why you want to?

Family Cartoon #5032 by Andertoons

Andertoons Family Cartoons

Mark Anderson’s cartoon may make us smile at the perspective of children on a playground – but the bigger question is one that as adults many of us struggle to answer or even are afraid to when we honestly assess career or company.

Let’s look at it from the personal and business perspective:

In your career:

Is your primary goal focused on money or personal satisfaction?

When you tell people what you do, are you proud of it?

If you could do ANYTHING, would you be doing what you do today?

If you were asked WHY you do what you do – would you be happy with the answer?

Would you want your children to follow in your footsteps?

These questions may sound basic, but when you consider that we spend 5 out of 7 days …or more in our chosen careers, it’s worth giving some real thought.

In your business:

Is your primary goal focused on the bottom line or a broader mission?

If an outsider was asked what your company is all about, would it match what you  say internally?

Management jargon aside – what business are you REALLY in.

Do you and your team have what they need to achieve your mission?

Are you a leader in your industry or space?  Do you even want to be?

Is your goal to innovate and push the boundaries of your industry or are you better positioned to follow trends.  (There are draw backs and benefits to both.)

If you could only invest in one company in the whole world – is this the one you would choose – and why?

If you asked  a random 10% of your employees these same questions, what do you think their answers would sound like?

What do you want to be… and why?

Here’s how I answer these questions:

For myself, I am what I want to be… a business builder.  The title does not matter as much as the work.  Seeing a company or organization that has  great potential and can lead in its field and helping it get there makes the hard work and risk worth while.  Some might call this entrepreneurial, others call it corporate leadership. To me, the process of identifying opportunity, creating the structure and delivering value for customers, employees, investors and partners in a way where everyone benefits excites me.  It’s who I am and what I do well. 

Why do I do it?  I cannot imagine doing anything else. 

At CorePurpose, we do the same things.  By providing services and solutions that build businesses and working with others to help find the answers to THEIR questions, we help them create value for their customers, employees, investors, and partners and create value for ours too.  

Why do we do it? Because we chose for our team people who are the best at what they do and share a belief that businesses grow when they can ask the right questions… find the right answers…and act on them.

Feel free to share the answers to yours in the comments below. 

They may sound simple, but if you really think hard …and honestly, you might be surprised by what your answers are.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

About the Joan:

Koerber-Walker-056 An entrepreneur, author, speaker and corporate advisor, Joan Koerber-Walker’s journey has spanned from corporate America to entrepreneurship and non-profits as well as to community leadership and into the halls of Washington D.C.   To learn more about how CorePurpose and the CoreAlliance can help you grow your business in 2011, you can contact her by clicking here.

CorePurpose  is a registered trademark of CorePurpose, Inc.  CoreAlliance is a  service mark of CorePurpose Inc.  All rights reserved