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Posts Tagged ‘A.S.K. Leadership Assessment’


Different Leadership Skills for Different Organizational Structures?

Posted by: in Central East, Global News

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to host a workshop in Sylvan Lake. It was a fantastic experience and brought to light the different needs within different types of non-profit/voluntary organizations. It also demonstrated how the A.S.K. Leadership Assessment Tool really is for everybody.

One major learning was how various aspects of the A.S.K. Leadership Competency Framework vary for different types of non-profit/voluntary organizations. Many of us think that the organizational structure of a non-profit organization contains the board with about seven to twelve positions including the chair, secretary, treasurer and the like. Under that you might expect to find a CEO or Executive Director and below that various staff that provide a number of functions. Now this is how many operate but it is definitely not the way they all operate.

Take for example the Sylvan Lake Quilters. This group is made up of a group of women who share a passion for quilting and:

  • promote a greater understanding, appreciation, and knowledge of the art, techniques, and heritage of patchwork, appliqué, and quilting
  • promote the highest standards of workmanship and design in both traditional and innovative work
  • foster cooperation and sharing among quilt makers across the country.

From my recollection I believe there is a president but no formal board or organizational structure, like the one I mentioned above. Like the Sylvan Lake Quilters, other organizations exist in the form of Charities and Foundations. There are also many volunteer groups that have no formal organizational structure.  If you are familiar with the A.S.K. Leadership Assessment Framework, you might wonder if it is applicable to all of these various formal or informal organizational structures.

The simple answer is that the A.S.K. Leadership Assessment Tool provided by KnowledgeConnector IS applicable to each and every type of formal or informal organizational structure. The six major competencies that make it up are based on the attitudes, skills and knowledge required to be an effective leader in the non-profit/voluntary sector. Now if you do not sit on a board of directors or you do not even have a board, simply do not fill out section 5.2 entitled Governance. DO fill out section 5.1 that is titled Senior Management. If you play a role in the operation and success of your group or organization you ARE senior management. You do not have to have a formal title that says you are a ‘Senior Manager’.

So in short, groups and organizations like the Sylvan Lake Quilters, can and do benefit from KnowledgeConnector’s Leadership Assessment Tool. If your organization does not fit the traditional non-profit organizational structure pictured above, I encourage you to take the A.S.K. Leadership Assessment. The tool and framework are focused on developing the attitudes, skills and knowledge required to make a fabulous leader in the non-profit/voluntary sector. So whether you are a board member, senior manager or individual who supports the vision of your group or organization then you are a leader.

Simply note that section 5.2 is entitled Governance because it is tailored for board members. Section 5.1 is entitled Senior Management because it is tailored for those individuals who play a role in the strategic direction of their organization or voluntary group.

If you or someone you know belongs to an organization that does not fit the traditional non-profit structure pictured above and have not yet taken the A.S.K. Leadership Assessment, I encourage you to take it online or book a workshop with me. Leadership skills in the non-profit/voluntary sector do cross all organizational structures.

Until next time…

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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Relationship Building vs. Management and Governance

Posted by: in Central East

Have you ever noticed how leaders in the nonprofit/voluntary sector (NPVS) are great at building relationships?

In all of the workshops held in the Central East region so far. I have noticed that the most common leadership strength in all of them has been relationship building. In fact out of close to 60 people only 2 or 3 people indicated that relationship building was a strength they needed to build on.

Why is it that leaders in the NPVS are such good relationship builders? Collaboration and teamwork, community engagement, inclusion and diversity, interpersonal communications, dispute resolution, facilitation and negotiation are the major skills that make up the larger Relationship Building competency in the Leadership Framework. All of these skills include one common denominator. This common denominator is the simple ability to work with others to achieve a common goal. People who work in the NPVS sector do not compete with other organizations or other individuals but rather, they collaborate with others, engage communities and partner to achieve a greater goal that serves others.
Simply put, the nonprofit/voluntary sector has heart.
On the other hand, the ability for groups to be strategic thinkers in terms of management and governance can be a bit of a challenge. Why? Because typically, they are too busy working together to get the job done while building relationships with others who have the same passion!
I held a workshop in Drumheller last week and of course noticed this same trend. Interestingly, the main learning opportunities that the group wanted to become aware of related to legal responsibility, risk assessment and fiduciary responsibility. Fortunately for us these types of leadership skills are more easily taught than those related to relationship building!

To find some great resources related to management and governance visit the learning opportunities page.

Also, make sure to watch of the launch of the second phase of on September 19th!

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How to Improve Teamwork in Your Nonprofit/Voluntary Sector Organization

Posted by: in Central East

What motivates your staff to work as a team? Is it relationship building exercises? Is it the way you plan and organize together? Is it the way you work on your self-awareness and development together? Is it the way management works with the team with their big picture thinking? Or perhaps strategic thinking is all done in a team?

Or maybe, it is the way that all of you draw on the strengths of individuals within the team in order to ensure that working together you are able to accomplish what nobody could do individually.

My bet is that the latter is the truth. Whether you all know the strengths of each other individual team members or not, you still know that you work better together than alone.

I am also pretty sure that all of you want to be a part of the strongest team so that your organization can achieve its mission to the best of its ability. I also am pretty confident that you are aware that in order to be the best you can be you need to utilize resources that are made available to you.

Well, if you have completed an A.S.K Leadership Assessment Questionnaire you may have realized that the questions I asked at the beginning include all of the attitudes, skills and knowledge that are required for an effective leader in the nonprofit/voluntary sector. Unfortunately, not one individual can be perfect at all of those 6 competencies and that is why we usually work in a team when trying to achieve a great goal.

If you do not know which competencies you and your fellow colleagues, board members or staff members are strong in, then register for a closed workshop today! Simply give me a call or email and I will set up a free personal workshop for YOUR organization to do a bit of team building. You will discover what competencies you are strong in and I will connect you with learning opportunities to fill any gaps.

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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Are You a Leader?

Posted by: in North West

Many people are leaders but are unaware of it!

1.    Have you ever helped a person or a group to achieve a common goal?

2.   Are you open, friendly and easily connect with people?

3.   Do you donate time or money to helping others on a regular basis?

4.   Do  you recognize and acknowledge the creative and innovative ideas of others?

5.    Are you involved in the nonprofit voluntary sector?

If you have answered yes to all 5 of these questions, then the A.S.K Leadership Assessment is right for you!

Leadership training should emphasize personal development and developing character (building confidence, trustworthiness, and credibility with others).

Individuals can be brought together for common training and learning opportunities. Consider a mentorship program where leaders (Yes that is you…) who have a skill or knowledge in a specific area may be matched with someone who has identified the competency areas as a learning priority. This process can also be used by organizations to develop a common learning plan based on agreed upon areas for development.

If you are interested in hosting a workshop in your community or within your organization please let me know!  And please remember these are FREE WORKSHOPS for everyone in the nonprofit/voluntary sector. The NW Regional Capacity Coordinator is available to facilitate this workshop for FREE.

We are adding new learning opportunities all the time to the website. We are also are looking for your feedback on how user-friendly the website is. Is there something missing? Your feedback is valuable and necessary to provide a quality product to our participants.

I have to give credit to Amanda my fellow RCC from Southern Alberta for allowing me in using her idea in this weeks blog. Please checkout her blog as well. Thanks Amanda!!

To schedule a FREE ASK workshop please email me


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Making Work for You

Posted by: in Central East

With the exciting new launch of the second phase of coming on the week of September 19th we want to make sure you get the most out of what we have to offer.

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Town of Provost. After getting to know some of the nonprofit/voluntary sector leaders in the community, I discovered that although everyone seems to have some type of access to internet these days not all users necessarily have the opportunity to reap all benefits.

For example, in some areas, there are people who simply do not have access to high speed internet. If you have dial up it you can access the internet but it will take you a lot longer to find out whatever it was you were looking for.

Well do not let that hold you back!

Most local libraries provide speed internet free access to residents who have a membership. If you do not have a membership to your local library get one today! The Provost Adult Learning Centre also provides free computer and internet access as do many other Adult Learning Centres. There are also new internet providers who offer high speed internet to the most rural communities who have never had access before. One particular provider is Platinum Communications. You can check out their services at

If you do have high speed internet you are likely to agree that there is such an overwhelming abundance of information that it can sometimes be a bit intimidating. This is, in large part, why has been developed. In order to help create some of the strongest nonprofit/voluntary sector leaders in Alberta, we realized that we needed to make it easier for leaders to be able to access timely, relevant professional development opportunities that meet your learning needs. So, whether you are working at home or utilizing some your community’s internet resources, we hope you can help us make help you become the leader you were always meant to be.

How? It’s simple. If you are a learning provider register on and post your awesome learning opportunities as they become available. Secondly, ensure you complete the online A.S.K. Leadership Assessment either through a workshop or online after September 19, 2011. And lastly, visit often! The ‘Global News’ and ‘Your Region’ sections are continuously being updated so check them often!

If you need more information on how to register as a learning provider or how to use more effectively give me a call.

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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Grow A Community Garden…

Posted by: in North West

This is the season when things grow and flourish. So how do you make a community garden grow? You start with good soil, then till the rows, plant a variety of seeds, water and watch it grow. A good gardener will nurture the garden along by maintaining a schedule of watering, fertilizing and weeding, hoping for the right combination of rain and sunshine for the seeds to take root and grow.

Where am I going with this you ask….follow along.

Not only is it a season of growth but the opportunity for many communities to host outdoor festivals, jamborees, rodeos, farmers markets, baseball tournaments and concerts. Yup. And most of them are run by a group of community volunteers (successfully I might add). I also realized that it isn’t just my community (Grande Cache) where the same ten people (STP’s I like to call them) volunteer for everything, it’s throughout the north-west. For the past two months I have visited a variety of rural communities throughout North West Alberta and there is one reoccurring theme: how do we recruit and retain volunteers?

This got me to thinking: what is it that KnowledgeConnector is trying to achieve?

To put things in simpler terms, I am comparing KnowlegeConnector to a community gardener.

We know that people (the soil) are the most important valuable resource to our community organizations (our garden).  Community sustainability and growth relies on knowledgable volunteers and building leadership skills, creating that passion for learning.

Every good gardener will use a fertilizer to enhance growth. This is where Knowledgeconnector fits in, our role is to help rural Alberta nonprofits/volunteer organizations grow and flourish by linking volunteers to learning opportunities (fertilizer). By empowering  volunteers with knowledge and skills (nurturing the garden) leads to a better organization and a stronger community. So what knowledge is the right knowledge? Where do you start?

Getting started is easy, as the NW Regional Capacity Coordinator is my role to work with rural nonprofits and volunteer organizations (FREE of charge might I add)  to determine your individual or organizational learning priorities and to link them to learning resources in your community or region.

Goes back to the question… so how do we recruit and retain volunteers? Plant the seed – provide your volunteers with accessible, affordable learning opportunities in line with their specific interests and needs and watch your community garden grow!!

If you are interested in participating in a workshop or need further information, contact me your NW Regional Capacity Coordinator



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Learning Providers Partner with Local Community Adult Learning Councils

Posted by: in Central East

Making learning opportunities accessible in rural Alberta communities is becoming more and more common as partnerships between learning providers and adult learning centres become a reality.  The only problem is that not everyone knows that these partnerships and opportunities exit. Thank goodness KnowledgeConnector is here to save the day the day!

As we know KnowledgeConnector is all about connecting learning providers with learners in order to create even stronger nonprofit/voluntary organizations in rural Alberta. As more and more learning opportunities are being discovered KnowledgeConnector is doing just that. For example, did you know that Norquest College offers leadership steward courses at the Community Adult Learning Centres for free?  Every day we are finding more and more leadership learning opportunities available across Alberta. Norquest is also now partnering with the Camrose and District Support Services to make more learning opportunities available online to reduce the travel barrier that rural Albertans often experience. This partnership may result in the use of shared space for any and all video conferencing equipment.

I had a meeting last week with a representative from the Community and District Support Services and from Norquest College. It was there that I learned of the new partnership possibilities that are emerging between the two. In case you have not heard of CDSS, it is located in East Central Alberta and is a partnership between the Province of Alberta, the City of Camrose, Camrose County, and the Villages of Bawlf, Bittern Lake, Edberg, Ferintosh, Hay Lakes, New Norway and Rosalind.  To find out more about the CDSS rural programs you can visit their website here or contact Clarence Hastings at

Out of that meeting another A.S.K. Leadership Assessment workshop has been booked in Camrose! It will be held in on Thursday, August 18th at the Camrose and District Support Services, 4516-54 St, room 230 from 12-2pm. There will be a free lunch, great networking and great learning. If you live in the Camrose region please RSVP to me by August 15. If you offer leadership learning opportunities I ask you also contact me so we can share them with the rest of the province.

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |



Town of Beaumont Strengthens Leadership Capacity

Posted by: in Central East

Mariko Siggers, Director of Recreation and Culture for the Town of Beaumont, understands  the importance of supporting leaders in the nonprofit/voluntary sector to create stronger more sustainable communities through KnowledgeConnector. She understood that when she first received and responded to a link to a KnowledgeConnector questionnaire. The questionnaire was developed to aid Volunteer Alberta in determining how to best design KnowledgeConnector to match learners with learning opportunities.

Siggers was more than happy to become involved in an initiative that works to help leaders create stronger more sustainable organizations and communities. That is why, when I visited her at her workplace, she was more than surprised to learn that she had won the biggest prize that we were giving away to one lucky person for filling out the questionnaire. Yes, you read that right, Mariko won an iPad 2!

Following the short presentation on a beautiful sunny day, Mariko and a few Recreation Programmers and I sat down together to chat about the awesome possibilities that KnowledgeConnector has for the  nonprofit/voluntary organizations in this great town. Together we were able to pinpoint some of the top groups that I am sure will get involved with KnowledgeConnector, identify some of the major learning priorities that have been discovered from working with so many organizations over the last little while and better yet, set up an A.S.K. Leadership Assessment Workshop for August. The date of the workshop will be August 22nd and held in the Beaumont Town Office at 5600 49 Street from 12-2:30pm. It is an open workshop so please give me a shout to RSVP!

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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What Makes a Community Leader?

Posted by: in Central East

The definition of a leader usually includes something about a person’s ability to influence their peers, colleagues or followers. They know how to inspire, motivate and evoke change in their community. Many people think that a community leader needs to be an executive director, a town councillor or senior manager in a multi-level organization.

I am here to tell you that this is not always the case. Often senior managers and executives are community leaders but there are also many movers and shakers out there that are seen leaders but do not recognize themselves as leaders. You very well may be a community leader but not giving yourself the right credit. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you volunteer to make your community a better place to live?
  • Do you sit on any committees?
  • Are you a board member for any local nonprofit/voluntary organization?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions than you ARE a leader. Last week the Hanna Learning Centre hosted an A.S.K. Leadership Workshop for their organization and a couple of local community leaders. Some of the leaders were invited because they were seen as leaders in their community. Halfway through the workshop though, two participants mentioned that they didn’t really think they were community leaders because they did not hold a paid senior management position. One of these people is a director of a local non-profit organization. Now she is definitely a leader!!

KnowledgeConnector is tailored to help ‘leaders’ in the nonprofit/voluntary sector to be as great and effiecient as they were meant to be by connecting them to professional development opportunities that meet their current learning needs. Unfortunately, I have been coming across people all over the place that don’t think they are actual leaders in their community. If you are in doubt – chances are you are a leader. If you do not currently make as much of an impact as you would like it is possible you are an ‘up and coming leader’. Either way – KnowledgeConnector is for you!

So, if you are an up and coming leader or leader as has been described give me a call so that KnowledgeConnector can match you with timely and relevant learning opportunities to help you become the leader you were always meant to be.

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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Lunch and Learns: Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Posted by: in Central East

We have all been to a lunch and learn at one point in time. The question is – have you been able to reap all of the benefits you could have?

I know from experience that I will attend a lunch and learn simply because the topic has caught my interest and do not always apply the learning. For example, I attended a session related to public speaking a couple of weeks ago. It was incredibly informative and while I was in attendance I was extremely motivated to take back what I had learned into my professional life. The first short presentation I gave after the session included all of the great tips I had learned. The second presentation, that occurred two weeks later, I failed to include one thing I had learned! Have you ever had a similar experience?

It is funny how so many lunch and learns we attend can be so beneficial yet so underutilized. Last week, I held a second A.S.K. Leadership Assessment workshop in Wetaskiwin. We called this workshop a lunch and learn because we it ran from noon to three and we enjoyed a nice lunch while going through the competency framework to discover our learning priorities to help us better meet each of our organization’s mission. It definitely seemed to me that those in attendance, myself included, benefited from the networking and information learned. The questions are: will the participants and myself, keep in touch with each other and fill our identified learning gaps?  I would most definitely like to believe we will do both of these things. Unfortunately, all good intentions aside, life happens and our memories let good intentions slide. So, the question is how can you get the best bang for your buck when attending an A.S.K. Leadership Assessment Workshop or attending a workshop/seminar/course to fill your identified learning gaps after a workshop?

Here are some tips:
  • Make an organized follow-up plan. For example, if you have taken an A.S.K. Leadership Assessment Workshop go straight to to find match your learning gaps with learning priorities and register for a course! If you cannot find one that interests you contact me or your local RCC and we will find one for you.
  • Follow up with networks as soon as you have time so you do not forget and invite them to have a one-on-one to discuss future work partnership or even friendships.
  • After six months, redo the Leaders Assessment Questionnaire and create a new plan and give yourself a pat on the back. Remember this is about continuous learning – it never stops and is always enlightening. Life would be pretty boring if we already knew everything.
  • Stick to the plan! Mark a reminder in your calendar so you don’t forget.

If you would like help finding learning opportunities in your area that match your need or would like to hold an A.S.K. Leadership Assessment workshop in your area contact me:

Victoria Poschadel | P: 780.945.6134 | E:

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