President Obama just declared the H1N1 flu to be a national emergency. Although his proclamation doesn’t signal any reason to panic, it does mean that nonprofits, especially those that deal with residential services, child care, elder care and especially health services, will be hard hit in the coming months — both on the client side and when their own staff and volunteers get sick.
The National Council of Nonprofits just issued an H1N1 Flu Preparedness toolkit for nonprofits that will help them deal with the impact of the flu. It is designed to help nonprofit leaders recognize that they are responsible for ensuring the continuity of their business operations and the fulfillment of their missions, and includes a variety of helpful resources, from “Suggested action steps” to “Business Planning/Continuity Planning.” All nonprofits need to be prepared to address the needs of both their clients and their own employees and volunteers, and this toolkit will help.
I love this simple premise of our latest Page to Practice book, Ordinary Greatness, by Pamela Bilbrey and Brian Jones: “Ordinary greatness” is everywhere — it’s just our job to uncover it. The authors use the example of violinist Joshua Bell who performed for morning commuters in a Washington, DC Metro station as part of a study by a Washington Post reporter. Because of the ordinary surroundings of the impromptu concert, and the fact that people were rushing past preoccupied with their morning routines, this renowned violinist went virtually unnoticed by passersby.
The authors’ point is that this is exactly what happens in our organizations — we get so busy with everyday stuff that we forget that greatness is all around us. We just need to stop and look for it. There are many times when I’ve passed a musician on a street corner or in the subway and thought, “Wow, he’s good!” But I rarely stop and appreciate what I’m listening to. The same applies at the workplace. How often do we stop and look around and appreciate the many talents and skills our employees’ bring with them to work? Uncovering the hidden greatness that is right in front of you may be one of the easiest ways to improve your organization.