Letter From John: It’s A Balancing Act

Over the past 18 months, Floricane has had the opportunity to work with more than 50 organizations doing phenomenal work in Central Virginia with a wide range of focus - health care, human services, housing and urban development, arts and culture and history - and they are all making a majorimpact on our community.

We've spent a lot of time paying attention to how these organizations operate, and what distinguishes those that are struggling from those who continue to thrive.

The best of these organizations share a commond denominator -- balance. They work to discover and maintain their own unique equilibrium in three areas:

Tactical & Strategic: Part of running a successful organization is knowing what you need to do to be successful tomorrow - and in ten years. Keeping one foot in the tactical day-to-day business and another in the future is not easy work. In an initial meeting about strategic planning with one local organization, the CEO talked about looking 30 years ahead while his board president focused on a more actionable, two-year plan. What could have been a real disaster instead turned into a visionary document, crafted by staff and board members, that framed short-term tactics against major changes in demographics and technology.

Head & Heart: An old mentor of mine used to joke that the longest distance in the world was the 13-inches between your head and your heart. Strong organizations understand the value of creating a high-speed rail line that clearly links the organization's bottom line with its core values and culture. And the strongest spend time developing individual leaders who demonstrate strong emotional intelligence competencies - who can manage with their heads, and lead with their hearts.

Leadership & Teamwork: Nothing within organizations happens without collaboration, and I'm always surprised by those who believe otherwise. Being intentional about teamwork - rewarding collaboration - puts great organizations ahead of the rest. Leading collaborative teams requires that leaders listen deeply, act with integrity and help groups collectively move toward a shared vision of what they can accomplish - together.

It's a rare organization that creates its own sense of balance in each of these three areas. It's been awfully inspiring to support - and learn from - those that are really working at it.