Yesterday, I sat in a conference room all day with my coworkers, pulling apart our organization’s strategic plan, key projects/initiatives and budget. I found myself looking at many of the points we were discussing through my newly forming MBA lens.
Our board of directors identified the need for a clearly communicated performance dashboard for the organization. I was able to speak up and identify how the actions, outcomes and metrics that were being thrown around could be organized and weighted against our organization’s core values: Check!
We have an inventory of several thousand baby book and DVD sets that we created to give away/sell to parents of young children. Trying to discuss the costs and benefits of selling versus giving away, I discussed how we could give them to an organization for free, and the organization could make a donation that is tax free. My organization could then take a loss on the product and not have to pay any taxes on revenues that would have come from sales. Accounting: Check!
And then this morning, as I sit here now, I am filling my whiteboard with pictures, diagrams and words, taking a picture of the whiteboard with my iPad, and then erasing it to fill it once again with more details. All of a sudden, I found myself channeling Nina Serpiello, faculty at BGI and designer at IDEO. Rapid prototyping lets my ideas flow. Lessons in creativity and brainstorming: Check!
Much of my experience as a community organizer is now inspired by my learning on highly effective teams at BGI. I am considering structures for community-based organizations that leverage resources and help create valuable capacity in the community to meet the needs of families and young children. It’s funny when I have these “aha” moments. They put things in perspective and help me realize that much of what I’m experiencing through my MBA is finding a home in my brain and influencing how I look at the world.
Jonathan Teeters is studying his MBA in Sustainable Systems at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute. Jonathan works at Best Beginnings in Alaska to enhance the ability for community organizations to support early childhood initiatives through collaborative partnerships. This article is an excerpt from his blog about women in sustainability. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter @J_Teeters.