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Executive On an Island

You’ve heard the phrase, “It’s lonely at the top.” Well, there’s a lot of truth to that. Which is why, in part, Paul Harris started Rotary International in Chicago way back when. To develop a place for fellowship and sharing among business leaders in a community. So there could be a place to do good work for the community together. Yes, that certainly was part of it. But on another level, lunch at Rotary is a time and place for leaders of businesses, law firms, accounting firms and nonprofit organizations to gather and do a bit of problem solving. Because really: Whom can you comfortably share a problem with? When you have an issue that needs resolution and you’d like to talk it out, it’s helpful to bring it to a group of peers who can serve as a bit of a sounding board to hear the issue and give you some feedback. Of course, it needs to be done in confidence, in a trusting way, understanding that no one will go blabbing about the issue to others. So for the nonprofit executive dealing with a thorny personnel matter that doesn’t have legal implications, but is a challenge and the CEO would like some common sense (not necessarily official HR or legalese) help in sorting an issue out, talking with peers can be very helpful. So a sounding board like Rotary, or a Chamber of Commerce committee, or another community gathering place where peers gather and can freely, comfortably talk can be very helpful in sorting out an issue. In this way, the sense of isolation an executive feels can be neutralized a bit. It can feel just a bit less lonely or isolating. This is why many savvy nonprofit board executive committee members encourage their CEO’s to join Rotary and to freely network with other nonprofit CEO’s in the community. All of this helps keep the organization on an even keel. Life isn’t perfect, but trying to keep the seas smooth is helpful to all concerned.

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