End of the beginning, 2018

Past practice was to review a year of blogging and report on what had caught the attention of our readers.  It was occasionally surprising to learn how little my obsessions coincided with the casual interests of human and mechanical web browsers.  As everywhere, the analytics offered more support than illumination (like a lamp post to a drunk, as the joke goes).

In a good year, this was newsy but nostalgic.  In bad years, it was just dismal.  The events of the year had been so depressing that I could hardly write about them and others could barely read about them. Themes could be drawn from the scramble of issues occurring over the year, and word occurrence analysis sharpened the focus, but in the end, this only sharpened focus on things we’d rather all avoid.  Think of Rob Ford’s farewell campaign and the stumblebum ascension of his brother Doug, for example.

This year was different because it was full of lessons for the future.  Some were specific to our work, and some had much broader relevance, but in general, this was a year in which the value of reconnaissance and experience outweighed accomplishment.  Not all were new in substance, but a deeper understanding improves articulation.

I wonder if you will get through all 14 over the month of January…

  1. NetGain has been in the real estate business for years and didn’t know it.
  2. Non-financial assets and liabilities determine more outcomes than any balance sheet.
  3. Leadership is not a commodity, and so is more reliably cultivated than acquired.
  4. Astonishing new marker of career accomplishment in public and voluntary sectors: accomplishment.
  5. Project design, not authority and mandate, is the most important determinant of success.
  6. Sooner or later, a brilliant idea will stall if the boring fundamentals of structures and systems are wrong.
  7. Society short changes itself when it values only the product of an artist’s labour.
  8. There is no shortage of anything in Canada except the will and ability to deliver plenitude where there is scarcity.
  9. It’s hard for clients to declare a desire with the same certainty with which their commercial counterparts declare their corporate intentions.
  10. A vaccine is needed to protect nonprofits from the myth of charismatic leadership.
  11. Almost all resignations and firings are the result of unnegotiated expectation.
  12. The right consulting diagnosis is meaningless when the patient plays doctor.
  13. Non-profits constantly rely on the least reliable source of funding.
  14. Artists are funny folk.

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