Shel Silverstein is Talking to Us!
by Joseph John
I enjoy thinking about and writing topics that nonprofit boards might use in their operations. As my fingers start tapping on the keyboard thinking about how non profits operate, I also think of Shel Silverstein.
Many people like neat, little classifications for identifying things and people. As a result, some of those same people who like “neat, tidy classifications” say that Shel Silverstein wrote children’s poetry. Perhaps. But his verse and messages are anything but juvenile. Many of his poems are very deep and make adults think twice or thrice because of the messages. Wow. Talk about peeling back the onion for some thought-provoking verse. However, this article is not a discourse for a poetry seminar.
Not only do I write about non profit board topics, I’ve experienced them, and to this day I sit on several boards. Look with me at YOUR board and the people who comprise them, and then reflect on one of my all-time favorites that Silverstein wrote:
Layin’ In The sun,
Talkin’ ’bout the things
They woulda-coulda-shoulda done…
But all Those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All ran away and hid
From one little Did.”
Shel Silverstein from Falling Up
Children’s Poetry? Sure. R-I-G-H-T! I went back to a few of my articles just to see what I have to say about DOING AND DOERS. Here are just a few:
- The rush to add deep pockets and super-credentialed individuals for your non profit board may not always be in your best interests IF you are looking for a board of doers. Your organization needs a board that will work together, become team-oriented, and become a group of doers.
- Oh, sure, every non profit board has some members who are doers — always moving and never at rest. They want to get things moving. They are self-starters and don’t need a “push”. But how many other board members sit around and wait for that external force (whatever or whomever it may be) to move them into action to accomplish the goals and objectives of organization?
- Raise your hand. That’s right! Don’t sit on your hands. You joined the non profit board as a volunteer — so VOLUNTEER. Don’t shun responsibilities and duties that you should be doing as a board member. Nonprofit board members MUST always be “doers”. When you start leaning towards delegation, delegate to yourself first.
- It’s important to know that Personal Credibility is based on the types of things that people DO and that applies to organizations as well. “It’s what people do that form our opinions, relationships, and ultimate decision of whether to trust and respect them.” From “the Personal Credibility Factor”
- “Communicate Purpose and Meaning…make your ‘crew’ think ‘we can do anything.’” From “It’s Your Ship”
From a non profit perspective: You really oughta’ wanna’…friend raise, fund raise, create a belief statement, create a lift statement, develop teams, and the list goes on. Is there more to the non profit board members’ not wanna’ doing it!?
As you can see, non profit boards need to get more “DID’s” and have to deal less with the woulda-coulda-shouldas. Hmmmm. Perhaps I’ll dust off the “board member assessment” article I wrote a while back. Could be an idea or two in that article to help a board steer clear of the woulda-coulda-shoulda’s.