Like many women, I like to keep people happy. Although I have learned through my seven years of running Company of Women that this is impossible. You can’t please everyone – I just look at the diverse range of evaluations we receive after an event, to wonder if the respondents were actually at the same event! And as for those who complain about too much balsamic vinegar in the dressing – they need to get a life.
So I really thought I had got over this need to please. Wrong. On Tuesday, our new team at Company of Women, eight of us in total, went off for a retreat. We wanted to spend the day together, getting to know one another and forming a shared vision for the future.
It was exciting for me to see others so enthusiastic about Company of Women and what we can do to help women grow, both professionally and personally. As one person observed, as a group we were pretty diverse in our backgrounds and experiences, but then so is our membership, and there was mutual respect for what we could accomplish together.
In our recent survey, women had raised several ideas of how Company of Women could support them. We were using those results to brainstorm ways in which we could address those needs. As ever keen to meet those expectations, I had all sorts of ideas of what we could do, but the team was quick to remind me that we can’t be all things to all people and perhaps the women had to take responsibility for helping themselves achieve their goals.
It was a timely reminder that I need to keep my focus laser-sharp or we run the risk of diluting what we do and spreading our limited resources too thin. Left to my own devices, I likely would have just leapt in, which speaks to the importance of surrounding yourself with people who will give honest feedback and tell you when you are moving in the wrong direction.
And it is not that we are going to ignore the survey results, but more we will look at what we currently offer and make sure people are aware of the opportunities available to them and will form strategic alliances where appropriate, rather than relying and delivering all the programs and services ourselves.