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Posts Tagged ‘Relationship Building’


Take a coffee break….

Posted by: in Central West, North West

Writing a weekly blog is an ongoing challenge for me; coming up with creative ideas, words of wisdom and witt to share with my readers.  I am easily distracted when I work from home when I feel it is time for a coffee break. So this time, I headed off to my local coffee shop for inspiration and a large lactose free latte.

Did you know that most of the world problems are solved around a table with a cup a coffee. Like clockwork (you can set your watch by it) people gather at their local coffee shop and sit around the same table, sit in the same chair with the same people, for some the tradition has occurred for over 35 years. Every person at the table has an opinion regarding politics or religion and some may go as far as contributing to local gossip.

There is value in “coffee shop talk”, as it is all about building relationships. In many cases those relationships have been fostered and nurtured by something as simple as sharing a cup of coffee. To know more about how you can make your coffee break better visit

So this week I have chosen to highlight relationship building, in order to better understand the self assessment competencies in the online A.S.K. Assessment ( I have to admit this is my the strongest skill area.

Relationship Building

A relationship is a connection between individuals or groups of people based on mutual understanding or a common bond. Relationships are strengthened when there is accountability to each other and a desire to work through difficult situations. Every relationship needs to be fostered and nurture. The 6 key areas are:

  • Collaboration and Team Development: The ability to teach team members collaboration skills like teamwork, loyalty, accountability, and mutual respect.
  • Inclusion and Diversity: The ability to consider diverse points of view when making decisions and taking action. The ability to be sensitive to different cultures.
  • Influencing and Advocacy: The ability to be an advocate for the organization and its members, and influence decisions that will support the organizational values and priorities.
  • Interpersonal Communication: The ability to encourage and use a broad range of communication skills, such as active listening and effectively giving and receiving feedback.
  • Dispute Resolution, Facilitation and Negotiation: The ability to understand the causes of conflict in the organization.  The
    ability to suggest alternative solutions to conflict so that everyone wins.  The ability to use various facilitation and negotiation skills to solve problems.
  • Community Engagement: To collaborate with the community to address issues that may affect the organization’s ability to accomplish its goals.

My friend Donna (NE Region) commented that “sometimes taking a simpler approach when completing the Assessment provides the clearest insight into your leadership skills”.

So, as you go through and fill out the A.S.K. Assessment, read the statements carefully,  and assess your self honestly.  The assessment can leave you feeling good about yourself, while at the same time help you with your learning plan (Thanks again Donna for the words of wisdom)

Always remember to take a coffee break, lifelong learning comes in many forms.

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Heading Towards the Launch….

Posted by: in North West

Putting the puzzle pieces of KnowledgeConnector together is no easy task, but that is our mission as Regional Capacity Coordinators. My piece of the puzzle is  working within the NW region of Alberta.

Tomorrow is the start of  the northern trek of  5 day North West  Regional journey, where I will be visiting a variety of communities along the way and putting major miles on my little car. With all the driving I am doing lately, I have grown quite attached to my little Honda civic (I named my car Betty). We have quite the conversations (a little one-sided mind you). I do my best thinking while driving in solitude while singing to 80’s music.  Then there are those  moments of clarity when everything makes sense, and then there are those times “Betty” allows me to vent and rant. That being said, all with the mission in mind of building community capacity to allow KnowledgeConnector to move forward to “launch day” which is coming very soon…!

So the pieces of the puzzle are coming together: we are making connections with our communities, doing presentations, collecting data, identifying learning opportunities, and identifying learning providers linking all this back to

Here is where you can get involved.

KnowledgeConnector is looking for human interest piece(s) that involve you and our project, to be included in launch (Coming September 19th, 2011) material and other communications materials. Would you like free exposure of your organization ?

o   If so, then can you share how KnowledgeConnector has/will benefit you and your organization?

o   What makes KnowledgeConnector different from other programs you have come across?

o   How has KnowledgeConnector motivated you to be a stronger leader?

I would love to hear from you, email your feedback or you have a question or require further information.


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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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Clubhouse is not just a sandwich….

Posted by: in North West

This past weeks adventure took me to Peace River Area, with spectacular vistas, lush and green rolling hills and beautiful river valleys. Nestled amongst this vista is a very unique community organization – “Clubhouse”. This small nonprofit/volunteer organization (of approximately 30 members) is supported by Alberta Mental Health Services.

Clubhouse Values

Clubhouse is build upon the belief that every member has the potential to sufficiently recover from the effects of mental illness to lead a personally satisfying life as an integrated member of society.  Clubhouse is a community of people who are dedicated to on another’s success, no matter how long it takes or how difficult it is. Clubhouses are organized around a belief that work and work-mediated relationships are restorative and provide a firm foundation for growth and important individual achievement and the belief that normalized social and recreational opportunities are an important part of a person’s path.

Purpose of Beyond the Heart Clubhouse

  • A place to go for support
  • A place for people to feel welcome from all regions
  • Friends and fellowship
  • Voices of mental health consumers
  • Community awareness by the presence in the community
  • Dealing with stigma

Clubhouse Mission

The clubhouse program promotes independence, individual choice and hope.  The clubhouse provides individuals recovering from psychiatric disabilities with a safe and confidential environment, access to social supports, opportunities to grow or enhance life skills and fellowship.

The Peace River (and area) Clubhouse and I (NW RCC) are setting off on a “learning adventure” come this fall. Follow along on our journey over the next six months as we  kick off the adventure with a special event to introduce the Knowledegconnector Project and to work through the ASK Assessment Tool. From there we will develop a Clubhouse learning plan, identify individual and group learning needs and linking them to learning opportunities. Stay tuned….

If you would like to know more about Clubhouse or how to start one in your own community go to

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Rural Alberta Development Fund Volunteer Alberta
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