Coming late to the game (eReaders)…

So I’ve started reading.

“Well duh, everyone reads.”

What I mean is that I’ve started reading books a lot more frequently and with a lot more interest.  I’m not sure what sparked this literary renaissance, but I enjoy it.  As I mentioned, I wrapped up the 21 Indisputable Qualities of a Leader and Nonprofit Management the past two weeks.  This morning I closed the cover on “Building Social Business” by Dr. Muhammad Yunus.  I was fortunate to hear him speak at the Duke 2010 Commencement, but I’ll elaborate more on his speech and his book in another post.

The reason why I titled this post “Coming late to the game” is that I’m considering purchasing an eReader.  Yes, I hear everyone saying the same thing: “What!?  Only a few short months ago you were decrying the ridiculousness of eReaders and how much you enjoyed pages in your hand etc. etc. etc.”  I’ll admit… I’m backtracking a bit on this.  But having just wolfed down three books and on the prowl for others, it is very tempting to get a lightweight portable device that can download books for me on a whim.  I can just imagine the ease of reading, the lightweight device, another gadget for Cris…

In light of that, I present the choices that I am considering for my eReader!

The first choice is of course, nothing at all.  This is the most economical solution as it stands, saving me hundreds of dollars in buying yet another gadget that I may not use regularly (I promise that I will though, I swear).

The other choices that I’m faced with at the moment include the Amazon Kindle, the Barnes and Nobles Nook, the Apple iPad, and the enTourage eDGe.  From what I can tell, the selection of books that I would enjoy reading are vast in the Kindle, Nook, and iPad, whereas the  eDGe seems to be lacking in some of its literary choices.  However, in terms of functionality, the iPad and the eDGe run iPhone OS and Android respectively, allowing for greater multi-use of the device.  Certainly this comes at a price of about double the eReader only systems.  Also, I think there are Kindle Apps and B&N Apps available for download to the more full featured devices, meaning that I could get access to those libraries while using the other devices.

Choices, choices, choices…  The question now is what to do about it?  Maybe I’ll just let this mull, and when the time passes, I won’t want one anymore…

Having a Clear Mission

I finished reading “Managing the Nonprofit Organization” by Peter Drucker, the book that I mentioned in my last post, and in post-reading reflection I thought that the book covered some great topics that were really relevant to running a nonprofit organization.

First and foremost, I want to reflect on the importance of having a clear mission for the organization.  Looking back at one of the organizations I’ve worked with, one significant problem that I had to deal with was the lack of clarity on the mission.  Without a clear mission, organizations fail to organize their programs and activities to support it, and end up chasing different loose ends at the whim of their respective leadership.  So what can organizations do to prevent this lack of direction from the beginning?

It’s important that the mission of the organization is focused on delivering the organization to it’s vision articulated in the vision statement.  Drawing the mission down from the vision will help the organization work towards a goal that makes sense.  Along with that, it’s important to evaluate the mission to ensure that the organization is actually serving the population appropriately.

Although I’ve only got a basic view of what a mission should be, I’ve definitely realized  the importance of it.  A lot of the time people have great ideas for programs, but they don’t think about how the program will fit with the organization as a whole.  I think having that overall picture is what separates a program director from a nonprofit executive.

Drucker emphasizes three things: opportunities; competencies; and commitment.  Does the mission take into consideration all these items?  If not, how can an organization take those three items into account?

The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader – John C. Maxwell

Amazon Link

I just finished reading the 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John C. Maxwell and thought I’d take some time to reflect on the book.  For full disclosure purposes, I haven’t read his other works, and this book was meant to be a follow on to the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, so perhaps I’m reading it out of context.

One of the best things to be able to do is to just sit back and reflect on the work that you’re doing in life.  This book gave me some time to be able to do that, especially in the context of my professional work and my community work.  What I thought was useful was that in this book it gave some “Daily Takeaways” at the end of the chapter.  It helps to be able to think through and get examples on what the qualities mean in the day to day life.  There were definitely some qualities that I hadn’t thought of, and will keep in mind while going forward.  I’m looking forward to re-reading this book in the next month to see where I am with everything.

So what makes a good leader different from a great leader?  For me, I think it boils down to commitment.  It’s imperative to be committed to what you believe in, committed to those who you are leading, and committed to yourself.  Having commitment n those three things will enable a person to succeed in whatever they want to accomplish.  Let’s look at some of the things that people think about when they think of leadership: vision, selflessness, drive, charisma, etc.  If I’m committed towards something, I’d think that I’d have a vision of where I’d like to take it.  Likewise, if I’m committed towards something, I’d be willing to give 110% of my time to the cause, and be driven to succeed.

The questions that I make sure to ask myself are:

  • Am I doing what I care about the most?
  • What am I working on that matters most to me?
  • Why does it matter?
  • Am I giving 110% to the work that I care about?

Next on the list: Peter Ducker’s Managing the Nonprofit Organization, courtesy of my good friend Gene Kim.