Davis’ Leadership Activities for Growth

Here are a month’s worth of possibilities for low-cost or no-cost learning activities to keep your perspective fresh.

  1. Check out one new website. Try a competitor’s site or a group who inspires you.
  2. Visit a website of a nonprofit service provider, like the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Foundation Center or Association Jam to learn about the resources offered.
  3. Make one information gathering telephone call
  4. Read an article, newsletter or blog, like Advancing the Non Profit Sector
  5. Read a chapter in a book
  6. Attend a conference, meeting or presentation
  7. Visit one customer at their physical site
  8. Visit a competitor’s physical site
  9. During your commute listen to a podcast, like Stanford Innovation Reviews or Social Good
  10. If you now use a to-do list, experiment with making several for different areas of your life and prioritizing each list with A, B or C priorities. Or, experiment with David Allen’s technique of listing items according to where they need to be done, i.e., computer, errands and home.
  11. Write down a goal for something you have never created a goal. Determine if writing it down helps you to identify the next action steps to achieving it.
  12. Dust off your strategic plan or New Year’s resolutions. Identify one action step and learn something about what it will take to achieve them.
  13. Make a bullet list of the key points of an article you found helpful. Share the take- away with your staff and board.
  14. Review a recent handout from an educational event.
  15. Watch an educational DVD or visit TED for a short video.
  16. For your board, staff and your community of support, create a top ten reading list related to your mission. Include the articles and books you have found most helpful, adding a one-sentence description to each explaining why the item is of interest.
  17. Find up to three friends to meet for a mastermind session. During your one-hour session, each participant shares a challenge and the others help by brainstorming solutions for fifteen minutes.
  18. Interview a former staff or board member to stay in touch and learn any departure insights about your organization. What makes you stand out? What have they learned since leaving?
  19. Skim a magazine from a different field to look for applications to adapt to your setting.
  20. Learn a new macro or other word processing technique in a software program you frequently use
  21. Learn a new application for your cell phone or other electronic device you use daily
  22. Invite someone to lunch whom you’ve enjoyed meeting, but with whom you never broken bread
  23. Read the Wall Street Journal– most of your large donors do. Alternatively, get the app for your cell telephone so you can regularly review the headlines.
  24. Journal three successes each day. Over time analyze their contents and patterns to build on them.
  25. Ask a question on or respond to a blog or helpline
  26. Ask a question at a meeting where you are usually part of the silent majority. Or, it you are a frequent contributor silently observe others for a meeting.
  27. Drive to work a different way
  28. Conduct experiments. For example, record the amount of time you spend on your email for one week. Discern if this helps you to make different decisions about your use of this tool.
  29. Log your time for one week. Find out where you invest it.
  30. Go on a bookstore prowl. Check out recent business and nonprofit magazines and books for new titles and trends.
  31. Create your own list of leadership growth opportunities.

For more help growing as a leader read:

Why and How to Design Meeting Openers

How to Develop Successful Events

Ready or Not, Time Management Tool

10 Time Management Tips for Elephant Size Projects

20 Ways to Say Thanks