One of the mistakes I made when I was first trying to fit all the parts and pieces of being the executive director of a nonprofit into a part-time schedule was this:
I tried to schedule meetings that were absolutely no longer than 30 minutes. I don't mean committee meetings or Board meetings. I'm talking about one-on-one meetings with prospects and donors.
In fact, I don't even think they should be called meetings. These are conversations. Times when I'm working to make or strengthen a connection. The kind of thing that cannot be driven by an agenda.
Invariably, I would get completely overwhelmed when they stretched and stretched. The part of my brain that knows what relationships require felt good. The part of my brain that had 42 things planned for the half-hour we went over "time" was freaking shit out.
The problem wasn't that this stuff was taking too long. It was taking as long as it needed to take. The problem was that I was trying to fit too many other things around it.
I had to make choice: Either have the conversation and allow time for it. Or don't have the conversation at all and check other things off your list.
So. I'm opting for longer, better conversations with donors and prospects. And I'm giving away other parts of my job that I never thought I'd be delegating.
What do you need to give something away so that you can allow time to develop the important relationships for your organization?
This week, I'm exploring how we make (and don't make) space for deep connections.
This post is part of a regular series about leading.