More often than not, the very purpose and foundation of starting a non-profit are driven by a strong association with a more significant cause or purpose, usually greater than their own.
Visionary founders in non-profits are often inspirational leaders themselves with an eye on the future and feet firmly on the ground. They usually build an organization based on deep values that resonate with the cause.
They depend on volunteers inspired by their vision and magnetism in the early stages and join the cause. Many volunteers may even be professionals with solid credentials and often play the role of scaffolding as the institution is being built. Ultimately, scaffolding is scaffolding; soon, the volunteers serve their time and often move on.
The 5 qualities that you should look for towards finding the right talent
That they have bought into your vision and ideology. This forms the core and is non-negotiable.
Demonstrate the ability to execute at the grassroots AND translate your vision to reality.
Possess foresight on the future AND imagination to innovate continuously.
Ability to work in the VUCA [volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world] that is becoming
To be a continuous learning organism WITH honesty to accept failures and work on what is right.
Attracting such talent is often a difficult task for the founders. But then, who said visionary non-profit founders take the easy path, ever?
I was never a fan of potatoes growing up. I thought they were boring, mushy, and bland. But in the last 20 years and having moved 16 cities, I realize they are the perfect food! They are the ultimate all-rounder: mashed, fried, baked or boiled. Top it off; they go with everything, including cheese, egg, or meat – not to mention veggies too! As a bonus point: they are inexpensive and available across the globe!
Potatoes do not discriminate against any other ingredient or cuisine. They can be enjoyed in any shape and size chips to fries to wedges, without discrimination! Also, Potatoes are versatile and are a must-have in different cuisines.
Much like the Generalists who can just work in any organization and culture. They have the unique ability to adapt themselves according to the needs of a team or an organization without discriminating against anyone. Like potatoes, they imbibe its values or culture of their workplace.
Generalists are like potatoes. Like potatoes, they do not have a distinctive snob factor. They usually do not cost much to hire while delivering immense value to organizations when hired well!
Like potatoes that are easy to prepare, Generalists can quickly be onboarded across industries because they possess skills which are applicable across domains
Generalists are the ultimate all-rounder, like potatoes.
Potatoes are versatile and adaptable and can be cooked in various ways. You can have your mashed spuds straight up or make them into chips, wedges or even potato gratin. These versatile tubers can be used as the main course or as the side dish—they are equally good either way!
A good Generalist is similar —they are the ultimate all-rounder who can take on any role you give them, no matter how big or small. A true Generalist will always be your second-in-command (after all, they are exceptionally good at taking orders). They are also more than capable of stepping up to lead projects if they need to do so—and sometimes even when they do not need to do so because they want some more responsibility!
Generalists are wildly versatile – mashed, fried, baked or boiled. Oops.
Have you ever noticed that potatoes are versatile? They can be mashed, fried, baked or boiled. You can use them as a side dish or main course. You can even make potato salad out of them (and who does not love potato salad?).
Just like good Generalists! Good Generalists are versatile, and they can be used in many ways. They can be used as a team lead, a project manager in the main course, or as that go-to resourceful guy.
Top it off; they go with everything, including cheese, egg, meat, or veggies. A good Generalist can be put in any department – project, product, sales, operations, or finance. They can be worked with in many ways, go with many departments and are not too pricey and accessible.
They can be your side dish or even your main course.
Like potatoes, a good generalist can be your “side dish, or even your main course” (sic). The potato and the generalist are both versatile. They can work on projects requiring technical skills but not too much specialization—tasks called “the 80%”. If you are looking for someone to take care of the back-end development of your website or app, great! Oh wait, did you say your Operations team have quit en masse? Look for a few generalists. That is yet another area where they will shine, not outside their boss. And after all this, they will probably still have time left to help with other things like graphic design or marketing (if you need it).
The bottom line is that if you need something done quickly and well—and do not mind having them around after they are done—good generalists will always be there for you.
They are also not expensive and accessible across the globe.
Yes, they are not expensive, like some Yartsa Gunbu, Spanish peas, Wasabi roots or pink lettuce. Potatoes are accessible across the globe and inexpensive. Well, there may be some La Bonnotte Potatoes, but they are more exceptions than the rule. They can be grown in most countries, which means they are available all year round, unlike other foods with strict growing seasons. Potatoes contain a valuable source of carbohydrates, vitamin C, potassium, and fibre, making them ideal for people on a budget or with dietary restrictions. Even more importantly—they can be stored for months!
Well, the generalist is produced in most countries, universally available, and significantly less constant skilling and grooming. Generalists are a valuable resource for contextualization, standardization, and cross-functional and cross-industry innovation…Even more importantly, they have a long shelf life unlike some of the tech industry, where the skills courses/certifications they attempt to gain are already ancient by the time they finish a course!
A Generalist is like a potato – good in everything but rarely gets credit for all the goodness.
Yes, a lot of things, well, from being a Patient Care Assistant or a Police Officer or a President, but they rarely get credit for all the goodness that comes from being a Jack of all trades. A Generalist can be hired for any project or team because they are usually capable in many areas. It is high time we see their versatility and pay attention as they should. From fries to wedges to chips – they are everywhere
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and found it helpful in shaping and shifting your career. If you are a Generalist like me, do not worry. We have lots of time ahead of us to prove that we are good and the best at what we do!
This is not a story of rags to riches. This is not even a story about the candidate. This is the story of how strong our biases are in the hiring process and how limiting our job descriptions are in selecting a great candidate.
A job description, as defined by Wikipedia, is a document that describes the general tasks, functions, and responsibilities of a position. It specifies the qualifications, experience, or skills needed by the person in the job.
Almost all HR and hiring managers swear by Job Descriptions. But have we ever realized that Job Descriptions could also limit our searches, resulting in potential false negatives?
People are people. They are more than people.They are mothers, fathers, friends, coaches, teachers, volunteers, photographers, charity workers and contributors. They can do a lot of things if they are appreciated and they can do it better if they are motivated and thanked. Successful managers make people feel special. People who work with excellent mangers feel that they are needed not used… are contributors, not costs… are workers not worked… are instrumental, not instruments are sold on what to do, not told… are people, not personnel… are measured, not monitored… are asked, not questioned.. are well paid, not underpaid. ***
I remember reading a book many years ago- Whale Done! : The Power of Positive Relationships by Kenneth Blanchard, Thad Lacinak, Chuck Tompkins, and Jim Ballard Ken Blanchard teamed up with co-authors from SeaWorld and wrote this parable styled book that opens up to the techniques used by killer whale trainers. What do people around you have in common with a killer whale? Both whales and people perform at their best when you accentuate the positive. It is important, therefore, to always redirect negativity to increase productivity both at work and at home….. read the book