How to run a charity : lesson 8

A summary of lesson 8 is that it is always your fault.

One of the great things about being the acting chair of a board of trustees is that you become the magnet for all negative emotions and frustrations. The fact that you have only been in place for less time that it takes to drink a cup of tea is irrelevant. Anyway, thats what happens and you need to live with it, so what can you do to get through in tact?

  • Forget about the causal chain. Who caused any past or current mess does not matter. You can only worry about fixing it and avoiding it happening again.
  • A propensity for allocating blame often hides some inner guilt. Sit back and be smug in the knowledge that whoever is currently delivering verbal corporal punishment with the underlying suggestion that you were conceived in the doorway of JJB Sports by parents who did not speak to each other before or after, is probably doing so because they have some past mishap which they would rather stay hidden.
  • Most people will tell you that you are great tomorrow
  • A stray f-word normally comes from a position of frustration of those who are passionate and committed to the cause. Let it go.
  • Getting it in the shorts from an external body for something you have no control over (for example a business plan generated 6 months ago, which you had no part in creating, has some flaws and an other body wants to make a point of it) I found OK.

I found working for Sun to be perfect training for some of this. At the occasional customer events, I still need to accept full responsibility for removing the C compiler from Solaris 2.0. I have been at Sun for 12 years and Solaris 2.1 was released about 6 years before I joined. No matter, it is still somehow my fault.

If you are the sort of person who takes on a role of any kind in a charity, you are probably not ruthless with an elephant hide for skin, so it will be one of the least enjoyable parts. Has been for me.

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