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difficult conversations007: Start Having Difficult Conversations Now! with Brian Garshelis





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Highlights from the interview

Brian's Journey:

  • Starting his career as a debate coach and getting a degree in political science and Spanish
  • Working work a U.S. senator doing Latino outreach but discovering politics wasn't his passion
  • Picking up and moving to San Francisco with his family
  • Joined Jump Start, a nonprofit early literacy organization 
  • 4 months into his new role learning the CEO was leaving the organization and his role was being eliminated
  • Taking a step back and asking the question: What he liked doing and what he wanted to be doing? 
  • Moving back to Minnesota and starting with New Sector and becoming the national program director


Valley Moment:


  • Moving to a new city, losing his job with out a lot of family support and feeling blind sided, alone, unsure and frozen
  • Feeling angry about someone else's decision to make a life change and how this is now impacting him personally
  • Getting past the anger, going to the parting CEO and have a chat about him about this moment


IMPACT Leadership:


  • Effective leadership is all about taking care of talent
  • Leadership stems from love: Loving what you do and who you are working with
  • It's not enough just to be focused on the mission or cause.  You have to be focused on the success of those on your team
  • The workforce will be mostly made of millennials by 2020 and from a leadership perspective they want to be involved in decision making
  • The best companies are not always those that produce the best widget but those that have the best culture
  • Tactics to attract top talent: Let your advocates be your spokes person and be creative and look outside your own social circle
  • Top two must have leadership skills: Willingness to embrace new ideas and being comfortable with ambiguity
  • Brian's genius talent: Being able to see the forest through the trees. Cutting through the information that is unnecessary and simplify what may seem complex
  • Brian's struggle: Details & working with a group that has a "cup half full" lens


Strategic Partnership and Community Work:

  • Partnering with the Shannon Institute Program to support executive directors align their values and purpose with their work and then taking these learns and applying them within their organization with early leaders
  • When thinking about partnership, he evaluates whether the organization is having the measurable impact his organization is looking for based on a "bottom double  line" = financial and social implications
  • Advice he would give his younger self: you are going to make mistake and have challenges but it all shapes you


Brian's FaithFactor 


2 week sprint to action 


Other IMPACT Resources & References


Link to Books mentioned:

Outliers: The Story of Success

Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High


Link to Resources & Articles mentioned: The Nonprofit Leadership Development Deficit


Link to find Jonathan:

Twitter handle: @bgarshelis



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