A Cause Greater

A Blog from Lon Swartzentruber

Centered Around a Unifying Purpose

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Aug 24, 2021 7:29:41 AM

Four Dynamics of Highly Effective Teams

Dynamic #1: Centered around a unifying purpose

During the past seventeen months and in large part because of the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to the workplace, teams have become more important than ever in determining the success of organizations. Being a part of a highly effective team has a huge impact on the success of your company as well as on your individual progress as a leader. 

Every work team, just like every individual, is different. Yet, there are four important dynamics to understand that can impact your team’s ability to thrive. In this next series of blogs, we will be taking a deep dive into these four dynamics. Building an effective team can be elusive , your attention to these dynamics can help set your team apart. Highly effective teams are:

  • Centered around a unifying purpose
  • Connected through relationship
  • Agreed & Accountable on desired outcomes
  • Aligned on when & how to get there

 

Read More →

Topics: process consulting, capital campaigns, donor clarity, Design Group International, Fundraising, donor relationships, leading organizational change, donor development, advancement, listening, helping, future, learning, organizational consulting, past, present, relationships

Elevating Your Weakest Point

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Jun 21, 2021 2:06:02 PM

In golf they often say, the best players elevate their weakest point.

For some it is making sure they drive the ball in the right spot on the fairway, for others it’s getting the ball up and down from around the green, for others it’s hitting the back of the cup consistently from three feet out. 

Read More →

Topics: process consulting, capital campaigns, donor clarity, Design Group International, Fundraising, a cause greater, donor relationships, leading organizational change, donor development, listening, helping, learning, organizational consulting, relationships, Enneagram

Your New Wine and New Wineskin

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on May 25, 2021 6:45:00 AM

If memory serves, every blog that I've ever written comes from experiences with clients. The stories that you read are from their journey, a hero's journey really, shared with you as I walk with them along their way.

Read More →

Topics: process consulting, capital campaigns, donor clarity, Design Group International, Fundraising, a cause greater, donor relationships, leading organizational change, donor development, listening, helping, learning, organizational consulting, relationships, Enneagram

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Apr 20, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Building an authentic relationship, whether it is with a donor, potential investor, partner, professional colleague, or friend, takes time.

When building deep, authentic relationships, it can help to think in three time-related dimensions…yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Read More →

Topics: process consulting, capital campaigns, donor clarity, Design Group International, Fundraising, donor relationships, leading organizational change, donor development, advancement, listening, helping, future, learning, organizational consulting, past, present, relationships

How do we learn as an organization?

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Mar 18, 2021 8:00:00 AM


Listening. Helping. Learning.


Engaging these three behaviors is at the heart of being a vibrant and transformational organization. Over the past two months, we have been taking a deep dive into a story of how one client organization, a nationally recognized nature center, embraced these behaviors to transform itself and how its surrounding community helped guide the way.

To recap our story thus far, it all started with an executive director who created space for his organization to listen. Listen to staff, to board members, and most importantly, to the broader community. The power of posing a question, especially from a posture of humble inquiry, as articulated by Edgar Schein, places the other person at the center of the conversation.

Read More →

Topics: process consulting, Design Group International, leading organizational change, listening, helping, learning, organizational consulting, customer value

How do we deliver help as an organization?

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Feb 16, 2021 7:00:00 AM


Listening. Helping. Learning.


Engaging these behaviors as an organization is at the heart of being a vibrant and transformational organization. In this series of blogs, we are taking a deep dive into a story of how one client organization, a nationally recognized nature center, embraced these behaviors to transform itself and how its surrounding community helped to lead the way.

Delivering help to someone, let alone a large and diverse community serving hundreds of thousands of people, can be easier said than done. When someone asks us for help, our natural tendency is to think in terms of ourselves. Such as, what would I find helpful in this situation? What would I do if I were in their situation? Unfortunately, this may not actually deliver the help needed or desired.

This is why we must first listen.

Read More →

Topics: process consulting, Design Group International, leading organizational change, listening, helping, organizational consulting, customer value

How do we listen as an organization?

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Jan 19, 2021 7:00:00 AM


Listening. Helping. Learning.


Engaging these three behaviors as an organization is at the heart of becoming a vibrant and transformational organization. Over the next three months, we will be taking a deep dive into a story of how one client organization, a nationally recognized nature center, embraced these behaviors to transform itself and how its surrounding community helped to lead the way.

First, a little background. It all started with an executive director who created space for his organization to listen. He wanted the organization to listen to staff, board members, key community stakeholders, and long-time partners. For many leaders, this is hard to do. Leaders can get comfortable in what they are doing, how they are doing it, and the results they are getting.

However, because of COVID-19, the organization was forced to cancel nearly all revenue-generating programs, which precipitated a 30% drop in revenue, which in turn depleted available resources to meet important operational needs. Instead of holing up in a proverbial bunker, the organization began asking hard questions…of itself and from its community.

Read More →

Topics: process consulting, Design Group International, leading organizational change, Peter Drucker, listening, organizational consulting, customer value

Special Announcement

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Dec 15, 2020 7:45:00 AM

Dear friends,

Design Group International is pleased to announce three new Senior Consultants have joined its team of process consultants adding to the collective strength and service to clients.

Read More →

Topics: Process Consultation, nonprofit leadership, lifelong learning, organizational purpose, Non-Profit Leadership, strategic interim leadership, stewardship services, Design Group International, Fundraising, fund raising, leadership and communication, Change Management, continuous learning, lon swartzentruber, leading organizational change, advancement, nonprofits, coaching, crisis communication, change, listening, helping, learning, Eric Doss, Steve Slagel, Rose Shetler

Lots of Grace & Lots of Space

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Nov 23, 2020 9:15:00 AM

It seems now more than ever; we each need more grace and more space in our lives.

Read More →

Topics: Process Consultation, governance, organizational purpose, Non-Profit Leadership, leadership and communication, executive learning, lon swartzentruber, sustaining relationships, advancement, nonprofits, coaching, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Humble Leader, listening, humble inquiry, Grace

Listening for Unasked Questions

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Sep 17, 2020 6:30:00 AM

As the ramifications of COVID-19 have rippled through our economy, the questions posed to leaders have taken on a heightened sense of urgency:

  • My child is living on campus in the dorm. What happens if she tests positive for COVID-19?
  • We’ve been working remotely for six months. When can we all return to the office?
  • My board members are in the weeds now more than ever. How can I help them get back to focusing on bigger issues?
Read More →

Topics: Process Consultation, nonprofit leadership, lifelong learning, organizational purpose, Non-Profit Leadership, capital campaigns, stewardship services, Fundraising, fund raising, leadership and communication, Change Management, leadership communication, fundraising philosophy, lon swartzentruber, advancement, nonprofits, coaching, crisis communication, crisis, Coronavirus, COVID-19, listening, humble inquiry, Edgar Schein, helping