Book Review: The Surprising Gift of Doubt
“The Surprising Gift of Doubt,” written by Marc Pitman of Concord Leadership Group, is a book that’s not just about nonprofit leadership. It can be applied to leaders in any situation, especially if you, as a leader, need some re-grounding or refocus. And who doesn’t need that during this ongoing pandemic?
Even if you’ve never taken a leadership class, this book gives you, in easy bites, some of the key leadership tools and guidelines that you can apply to your everyday activities.
Marc gives you permission to know that “nothing stays the same” and that you, as a leader (no matter who, how many or what you lead), can doubt yourself, but by doing so, that’s when you’ll be able to grow and become a better leader. Whether you lead a large team or a small team, Marc’s book helps you get more focused.
Marc recommends writing down 100 things you’d like to do in the next 12 months. I just started brainstorming my first 20 or so. “Smile every day” is one. It’s what keeps me going!
Like anything you write down, you have the potential to accomplish it — so it’s a terrific exercise. What I also liked was how Marc worked in the mix between personal and professional things, as it’s about striking that important balance.
As a consultant who works with organizations of different sizes, I’ve seen my share of leadership changes, especially moving from founders to hired executive directors. I would have liked to have seen a few more case studies and stories from nonprofit leaders, from organizations of different sizes to address some of those special challenges.
I personally decided a long time ago that I didn’t want to manage a large team any longer, but I liked Marc’s approach to daily and weekly planning, and writing a personal mission statement.
Why do you do what you do? As someone who runs or works in a nonprofit, whether you’re leading a department, part of a process or directing the whole enchilada, knowing the “why” is important.
Working at a nonprofit takes a lot of motivation, especially now. I’m convinced that writing down your goals and your own mission will help keep you grounded and motivated throughout these challenging times.
Marc’s book provides some great tools to help you do exactly that. Because leadership has never been more important than during crisis situations like we’re experiencing right now.
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is the president of A Direct Solution, a company serving nonprofit organizations with fundraising and direct marketing needs, with a focus on monthly giving and appeals. She authored "Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant" and "Monthly Giving Made Easy." She regularly blogs and presents on fundraising, appeals and monthly giving — in person and through webinars. She is happy to answer any questions you may have about this great way of improving retention rates for your donors.
Erica has over 30 years of experience in nonprofits and direct response. She helped the nonprofits she works with raise millions of dollars through monthly giving programs. She is also very actively supports organizations with annual fund planning and execution, ranging from copywriting, creative, lists, print and mail execution.
When she’s not working or writing, Erica can be found on the golf course (she’s a straight shooter) or quietly reading a book. And if there’s an event with a live band, she and her husband, Patrick, can be found on the dance floor. She also loves watching British drama on PBS. Erica and Patrick have two step sons and a cat, Mientje.