Monday, October 1, 2012

Oops. Small error on the WHAT I HAVE LEARNED entry

Good morning.
"And the beat goes on..............."

Dear Readers:

When I organized the What I Have Learned blog on Sunday, I thought I had it all done, and then somehow the computer decided, in its infinite wisdom, not to save what I had finished.  Obviously, my fault, not the computer's (though on some days I seriously entertain the notion that the thing secretly has it in for me).  So it took another couple of hours, but I did it again.  And, naturally, in my haste to post it, I inadvertently did not notice that Marian Godfrey's entry wasn't fully separated from Olive Mosier's entry, nor was Marian's name in boldface as it should have been.  I have corrected it on the site.    My apologies to Marian and Olive.

Anyway, here is Marian's entry again:

Marian Godfrey - Cultural Advisor to the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation

The most important lesson I have learned in 33 years as an arts administrator and grant maker is to ask for help.  The worst mistakes I have made resulted from pride and embarrassment that kept me from asking for help to fix or improve something; the very worst mistake got me fired from a good consulting job when a problem turned into a disaster because I didn’t ask for help.  The best programs I designed as a grant maker were all, every one, developed based on extensive advice and information from the people I was hoping to support; the most successful benefited from advice and tough critique from my executive and my board.  When I didn’t listen to them, the programs weren’t so good.

It is especially important to cultivate your ability to hear people (not just listen politely) when you are on the up side of the power equation, as grant makers often are.  I have learned how easy it is, from the safety and security of my perch, to be incurious, and to gloss over the urgency of mission, communicated in telling detail, being offered up by someone on the other side of the table.  People who are not empowered are hyper-vigilant, and command a far more richly concrete understanding of their situation and their objectives than those of us who listen by choice rather than necessity.  So if you want to do well, and to do good, honor your constituencies by making your listening a necessity.

Don't Quit

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