Be A Changemaker

We will continue to monitor the news and the potential impact from America’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal. In addition, next week will be Israel secular Independence Day (May 14) and the official “opening” of the new United States Embassy in Jerusalem. It will be interesting to watch what transpires. 

The past few weeks I have written about Jeff Bezos at and Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots sharing some of their leadership philosophies.

Since I am on that business management theme, I recently re-read an editorial from February written by David Brooks of the New York Times called, “Everyone is a Changemaker.” In his article, he wrote, “Changemakers are people who can see the patterns around them, identify the problems in any situation, figure out ways to solve the problem, organize fluid teams, lead collective action and then continually adapt as situations change.” 

Educator and computer designer, Alan Kay, famously declared, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” How do successful organizations build on their history, even as they craft a new point of view about what comes next? What does it take to invent the future in such a turbulent and uncertain world? How can accomplished executives be sure that all they know — their hard-earned wisdom and expertise — doesn’t limit what they can imagine? These are the questions that separate organizations and leaders whose best years are ahead of them from those stuck in the past. 

Bill Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company magazine, has written about four kinds of leaders. 

The Learning Zealot -- One of the great satisfactions of being a leader is that you get to be a teacher, sharing the wisdom you’ve acquired over the course of a career with young colleagues hungry for time-tested advice. But when it comes to inventing the future, the most effective leaders are the most insatiable learners. Creative leaders are always asking themselves, “Am I learning as fast as the world is changing?”

The Personal Disruptor -- The longer you’ve worked in an industry, the more success you’ve achieved, the harder it can be to see new patterns and possibilities, new paths to what’s next. All too often, senior leaders allow what they know to limit what they can imagine That’s a big problem: You can’t invent the future if you cling to out-of-date ideas, even if they’ve worked in the past. Too often pride in one’s most recent idea becomes a barrier to seeing your next idea.

The Tough-Minded Optimist -- Leadership is emotional as well as intellectual. How we present ourselves, the attitude and outlook we exude, sets a tone about what’s required to make deep-seated change in turbulent times. John Gardner, the legendary scholar of organizational life, argues that great leaders exude “tough-minded optimism.” The future, he says, “is not shaped by people who don’t really believe in the future. It is created by highly motivated people, by enthusiasts, by women and men who want something very much or believe very much.”

The Eager Experimenter -- There’s a dirty secret about the future that many of us don’t want to face: Even the most exciting breakthroughs are built on the backs of projects that fizzled, products that bombed, initiatives that failed. That’s why leaders who are fit for the future support lots of ideas, knowing that most of them won’t deliver as planned, to discover the few that will deliver bigger than anyone imagined.

What type of leader are you?

I know our Jewish community is filled with bright, creative, forward-thinking people. We need all types of leaders – including you. Get involved! Share your ideas! Help our Jewish community create new initiatives, new programs, new services – and enable us to meet our full potential. Feel free to reply to this email and share your insights and thoughts.  

The challenge of our time is to make everyone a changemaker – that means YOU!

Next week is an important time for the Jewish Federation and our Jewish community. First, the Jewish Federation is leading our community (and in many ways the country) in providing sexual harassment training for Jewish professionals and organizational board members. Over 200 people will participate in a variety of seminars over three days with Fran Sepler, a nationally recognized leader in the field. I look forward to sharing more next week.

Secondly, the Jewish Federation will begin to utilize a new CRM database system. As is always possible when using a new system, let me apologize in advance if there are any initial problems. 

Shabbat shalom.



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