Confronting the Obstacles I: Going Above and Beyond
Some senior sage leaders have worked within organizations that have a very narrow focus. They helped these organizations to broaden their scope and provided counsel about the value of collaborating with other community organizations. They also assisted their organization in becoming more fully aware of community needs and in envisioning ways in which their organization could strategically respond. For example, a senior sage leader pointed-out that the safety of the community’s minority members was not being considered when transportation plans were being prepared to increase minority access to work settings and community services: “If it’s not safe to walk here, then it is not safe to shop here. And if our citizens don’t feel safe shopping here, how can we expect our businesses to thrive?”
Perhaps as part of their generativity, many senior sages report that their “job” in working as a volunteer is to build on the accomplishments of their predecessors. Rather than starting something new, which might bring personal recognition and ego-gratification, these dedicated seniors value continuity and honoring past contributions. Their passion is contagious, as is their appreciation for work already done. This enables them to generate new energy as well as re-kindled old passions. They re-interpret the existing vision of their organization so community members can see the often unacknowledged value inherent in work already done, and will continue to be done by the organization.
Confronting the Obstacles II: Starting and Sustaining an Organization
In many cases senior sage leaders founded organizations—often in collaboration with other sages. However, these leaders weren’t just founders. They stuck around long enough to ensure that the organization would be sustained, that it had sufficient “wind under its wings.” In many instances, the senior sages traversed several different stages of organizational development.
They were first founders, then trained or coached others to take over as leaders, then moved into a support role, then became liaisons to the community on behalf of the organization. As leaders with a broad base of experience in many organizational settings, senior sages are able to find the right words at the right time to bring attention and credibility to the role played by their organization in the community.Download Article 1K Club