In my last article I talked about the importance of taking time for you and stepping away from the laptop. So I did this and I got to tell you it was really nice. No internet/email access, no television and the only technology involved was powering up my Kindle.
So I came back to work feeling refreshed and ready to hit the ground running. Boy have I been running and in fact it is kind of feeling like a marathon and in a good way. I received a call within one hour of coming back informing me of a major change with APRA of which I am president. Julie Sutter, our executive director of six years resigned from Smith Bucklin which is the management company for APRA. This comes on the heels of the 25th anniversary conference and approving a new strategic plan to name a few. To say this has been a year of transitions is clearly an understatement.
For many individuals, transition can create a sense of uncertainty and fear. I like to view transition as an opportunity. It is inevitable after all and it helps me keep moving forward in life. By the way, one of the major transitions in my life was attending the 1996 APRA International Conference in San Diego. The theme of the conference was “The Next Wave” which looking back now was so appropriate. I had decided to take a break from the entertainment industry and discovered the wonderful world of prospect research. I had only been in my position for one month when I was fortunate to attend the conference. If someone would have told me at the first day of the conference that my new chosen profession would be fundraising and that I would be the president of APRA for the 25th Anniversary I would have thought they had lost their mind. It was however, at the end of that conference that I knew my life was transitioning and I was on the next wave of my career. Throughout my career I have tried to embrace all the opportunities/transitions I was presented.
This whole experience could have been unpleasant but because of the strong leadership and commitment this has been a remarkable journey. This clearly defined to me the importance of communication, trust and faith in your colleagues and leaders. It allows us to encounter these transitions with fortitude and a positive attitude. I realize that not all transitions in life are easy but embracing that ultimately you will learn and grow from this experience helps keep you in the right frame of mind. You need to perfect the harmony between being nimble and thoughtful. It is clear that either being too nimble or too thoughtful can be devastating. Recognizing the importance of moving forward but not with giant leaps I think is crucial because with giant leaps you can miss important details. As a result we now have an interim executive director for APRA who is invested in our mission and success. So when you are interviewing for leaders, board members or colleagues inquire on how they would handle unexpected transitions and if they see it as an opportunity or bad news.
What are the challenges you face during transitions and how do you overcome them?
Hope to see you at APRA in August!
*Michael Quevli is a consultant for Target Analytics and current APRA President. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.