Science fiction and my call to service

March 25, 2015

Filed under: About My Work,Advocacy — jonathanpoisner @ 12:21 pm

I was recently asked why I felt called to service. As it was asked, the question related specifically to my career’s focus on helping nonprofit organizations, either by working for them directly or as a contractor.

After reflecting a bit, I gave an answer that surprised even me.

I think my call to service was informed by reading a lot of science fiction growing up.

The science fiction I read growing up alternatively presented really positive, uplifting, exciting views of the future, or really dark, negative, challenging views of the future.

Most importantly, the books often focused on pivot points where things either went from “good” to “bad” or “bad” to “good.” And the characters in the books often played a key role in these pivot points.

I think this taught me two lessons in particular.

First, the future won’t necessarily look like the present. Change is possible, if not inevitable.

Second, individuals can have a real impact on what change happens.

Both are key to the mindset of someone who “fights the good fight” for social change.

If you don’t believe the future can be a lot different from today, you’ll be resigned to just let things be.

And if you don’t believe individuals can have an impact, why get involved?

So if you’re a parent who wants their child to become involved in social change work over the long run, pick out some good science fiction books and give them to your child.

Next step for me: work on a blog post outlining which science fiction books most impacted me.

Was there a science fiction book that had a big impact on you?

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Smashwords.Com interview

September 10, 2013

Filed under: About My Work — jonathanpoisner @ 4:20 pm

I recently completed a interview about my E-Book, Why Organizations Thrive.

Admittedly, it was an automated interview, so no human being actually asked the questions.

But it was a fun process and hopefully there’s some food for thought in there of value to those who read it.

Here’s the link to the interview.


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Why I do what I do

August 4, 2011

Filed under: About My Work — jonathanpoisner @ 4:26 pm

I’m about 20 months into my work as a consultant.

As my day-to-day has become busier (thanks to my wonderful, fabulous clients!) I’ve started to think harder about what I’m trying to accomplish.

My mission: To help progressive social impact organizations thrive.

My vision: To work with 15-20 clients per year, with about one-third of those being repeat clients.  To help those groups leave the consulting process in a higher orbit, with a permanent increase in their capacity, not just a temporary boost.

Why do I do this: Because I see too many people reinventing the wheel.  Because even the most talented advocates have gaps in their expertise and, in many instances, I can help fill in those gaps.  Because I love inspiring people.  Because I want to create big ripples in this pond we live in.

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Keys to hiring a consultant

March 14, 2011

Filed under: About My Work,Consulting — jonathanpoisner @ 1:06 pm

Okay, one key.

Here’s something I kind of knew when I was hiring consultants, but really appreciate now that I’m wearing the consultant hat.

It’s best to be explicit why you’re hiring a consultant, even if it may seem obvious to you.

I generally find people are looking for consultants for one of three primary reasons.

  1. They simply lack the time to do something on staff, so they contract out.
  2. They lack the expertise within the organization, so they are looking for expertise from the consultant.
  3. The nature of the project requires an outsider to be a neutral facilitator of some process.

In general, I find I can be a more effective consultant if I know from the very beginning what role (or combination of roles) they are seeking from the consultant.

A strategic planning process that explicitly calls for me to offer up some of my expertise will look different than one that’s solely about having a neutral, outside facilitator.

If the project involves something staff could do, but lacks the time to do, that too provides useful guidance on how my work should be structured.

So be explicit folks!

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The Purpose of this Blog

January 24, 2011

Filed under: About My Work — admin @ 4:08 pm

Just a quick note as I launch my new website, that I’ve included a blog function.

I did this because I’m constantly having ideas, thoughts, and things I want to share that are too timely to wait until my next e-newsletter, and where Facebook or Twitter can’t do them justice.

Feel free to grab the rss feed if you want to read them as they’re posted.

And if you have ideas for something I should blog about, please email me.

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