Pull Up a Cup of Something



2018 is really happening. I’ve just spent some time pondering the agonies, ecstasies, and everything in between of 2017. Also, I’m thinking through the year ahead. Right now, I’m watching a glorious sunrise on the first day of this year and drinking a steaming mug of plain black Kirkland Dark Roast (my stand-by favorite) I’m also finalizing my three words for 2018. 

My goal in connecting with you is to give you something valuable that you can consider and perhaps act on. Think of it as “leader fuel” as we combine efforts to help a whole lot of folks. My purpose always is to inform us, inspire us, and keep us focused on the road ahead.

You see, we’re on this journey together of becoming a foremost community services organization. Much of it is fun, meaningful and rewarding until of course, it’s not. There are also the inevitable difficulties, discouragements, conflicts, and confrontations – sometimes scary and ongoing. Then we have to evaluate, recalibrate, and hit the reset button. 

Through it all, we’ve built a social enterprise that manages a portfolio valued in the $250 M range that houses and helps approximately 1700 people. Thousands of people have been housed, helped and healed through our work. Much of our growth has come because ordinary people like you were willing to attempt extraordinary things.

A sincere and heartfelt “thank-you!” to each one of you for that.

2018 Chapter 1: Page 1

This doesn’t need a whole lot of setup so I’ll get straight to the point.
In recent days, I wrote our Board of Directors advising them of my intent to resign the overall leadership of the MTR group of Societies. This will allow them to begin the important work of putting in place the next generation of leadership for MTR. I will, of course, continue on in my current CEO role until a new executive leader has been selected.
After that, there’ll be an appropriate onboarding and orientation period.
The board has requested that I remain to help guide the transition process. We’re targeting July 15th but experts tell us that this type of executive recruitment/ transition process can be quite fluid and often takes 10-24 months. Analogy: It’s kind of like an IKEA project. All the big pieces are available, but some patient assembly work is required.
So, no goodbye parties just yet.

Why? And Why Now?  
First of all, it’s part of an overall plan that I and the board have been collaborating on for over five years. We have the luxury of a timed and planned transition that isn’t crisis-driven. Smart and savvy organizations pay close attention to succession planning at the top and throughout the organization. And we’re smart and savvy, right?
Secondly, the work has grown and will continue to grow. We’ve grown our leadership base along with it by adapting, learning new skills, continually restructuring to make sure we’re effectively delivering on our mandate.  As the founder/ leader, I’ve learned that we “grow by letting go” and I’ve actively given things away at key points to make room for other leaders. This is one of those key “letting go” times that will catalyze and empower the next generation of MTR board and senior staff leadership.  
Third point. We’re at an organizational “sweet spot” for change readiness. Most, if not all of our current problems are good ones. We have a good structure, a good work ethic and a clear vision for the future. Never before have we been stronger and better resourced in all areas. Nor have we had the range of opportunities facing us than we have right now. So, centering the timing of all this around 2018 is actually looking pretty good.
What Does This Mean? 
For the time being everything and everybody continues the status quo. I’ll continue leaning into the leadership needs of the organization while the board does the deep work of discerning and deciding leadership selection. The collective job of the board and staff over the next 2-3 years will be to continue to self-organize for scale and capacity. That’s just “corporate speak” for doing more better.
What About Yours Truly? 
Aw shucks, thanks for asking. I love this organization and all of you. It’s been my life for the past 23 years, but I also have a strong sense of new things headed my way. At a visceral level, you’ve got to know it’s a bit scary for me. However, the bulls-eye of my target has always been to finish strong and finish well with all things MTR in very good shape. I think we’re there. Regarding a possible future role: It’s too soon to speculate, so let’s take things one step at a time and see what unfolds. Right now, I’m totally fine embracing ambiguity.
My Three Words

If you’ve been with me for a while, you probably know about the Three Words project.
I twigged onto this idea some years ago via author and business advisor Chris Brogan.

It’s quite simple really. Thoughtfully choose three words to guide and anchor your year. If you want some “how-to” guidelines around this, just drop me a line and I’ll be happy to share how I do it.

If you want to see what others are doing just look up tweets for #my3words.

In general:
Our words are the roadmap to our intentions. 
When we articulate our vision, it helps guide where we wind up.
Our words also guide what we think about.
Repeated thoughts (words in our head) produce our emotions.



 My Three Words for 2018

Move – as in motion, action, kinesis, getting from here to there, A reminder to move physically (fitness) as well as on life plans and projects that I’m working on. Movement is life! The fact is that life is a constant balance between planning and action. 2018 will be a year to move.

Improve – Life happens. I get that. Hopefully, I learn from it and move on. 
Part of me is always looking to make some things better while staying consistent at other things. Not in a sweaty, white knuckle, “we’ve got to get better” way. Its more a curious, appreciative inquiry approach. My personal mission statement is to “help others do better”. This will be a continued focus as I move into 2018. Not to put too sharp a point on this, but continual improvement is “baked” into or brand promise of “More” and our value of pursuing excellence.

RenewRenew is somewhat related to the first two words.
Sometimes it’s a full-time job being me. But hey, it’s also a lot of fun. (Margaret’s comment: “more supervision needed.”) I love watching the renovation reality shows. They remind me that I’m a “work in progress”. The same goes for our work together. I trust the coming year will bring a renewed focus to MTR. 
The Goal is Clarity and Action
I regularly review, write out and think about my Three Words. That is the point after all. They are meant to be anchors and signposts for my year. I keep them in front of me and use them to direct my thoughts, responses, decisions, and actions.

So…..what about you? Have you come up with your Three Words this year?
Are you on track?
Let me know.
Hit reply. I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading!

It means a lot to me.