This week I’m reminded that change still aches a bit – even when it’s change made of our own plans and decisions.
I am leaving Koné Consulting at the end of this week to rejoin the wonderful team at the Greater Chicago Food Depository as their Senior Director of Public Policy. While I am sad to be leaving the small and mighty team at Koné and will miss working with our clients, my heart is pulling me back to non-profit advocacy work and getting to operationalize plans and all the nitty-gritty that goes with that.
As I think back on what I’ve learned about both myself and work during my nearly two years at Koné Consulting, there are few things that rise to the top.
I really like putting plans into action. For most of my consulting projects, I would assess, analyze, write briefs, and/or provide project management support. And I really enjoyed all of those things. But I realized that I really liked doing what’s next as well – taking that assessment or analysis and turning it into action. Seeing what works, what doesn’t, and course correcting as needed. And to do that, I really need to head back inside organizations doing the work.
Communication can happen in many ways and it’s important to create space for it. Everyone at Koné Consulting works remotely and we are often interacting with our clients remotely as well. This opened me up to some new communication tools and spaces that I’d never used before for work but that in retrospect could be useful to lots of organizations. For example, Slack is a great messaging tool for teams that are often on the go and can also serve as a virtual water cooler of sorts to help you feel connected to your colleagues. I’ve also come to appreciate the importance of using time spent together well – because there are some things that just work best when you’re together in-person. Be intentional, respectful, and most of all joyful with this time! And that’s true even if you see your co-workers every day.
Managing expectations. Surprise! This isn’t a lesson learned about managing a client’s expectations but rather about managing my own. I think I’m late to the party on this one, but I’ve come to realize that so much disappointment is created by our own expectations. Don’t get me wrong, I continue to have expectations but I also try to recognize that’s just what they are – MY expectations. When appropriate, I do my best to talk with my clients, colleagues, collaborators, or whomever about my expectations and also ask about theirs. And then when I feel disappointed or frustrated because a meeting has gone a bit off the rails or when I don’t like where a project is headed, I take a deep breath and step back and ask myself a few questions. What expectation(s) did I have that are not being met and what needs are behind those expectations? What might others’ expectations be? What other options are available to us? How can I/we be OK with what is and move forward? It isn’t failsafe but it sure helps.
So, there it is. A few last things to wrap up here, a week off, and then off to the races at the food bank!