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Being Strategically Selfish

6:45AM.  The first seriously cold morning of the fall.  Nursing a cup of coffee that really hit the spot and channel-surfing the news shows.

I came upon the Bloomberg Business Channel.  The guest was Michelle Seitz, CEO of Russell Investments, $300 billion under management.  I thought it might be good to listen.

She said all the things you’d expect about her profession but the “moment” came at the very end.  Seitz was musing for a bit, talking about women in the finance industry and she said, “Women in our business need to learn how to be strategically selfish.”

Strategically selfish.  Good for women in finance.

Good for everyone in fundraising.  Women and men alike.

Let’s start with the obvious: “My child’s school play is more important than the staff meeting.”

But that barely scratches the surface.  How about the less obvious?

“Do I HAVE to accept this new project that will pull me away even more from visiting my donors?”

“Honestly, where’s the reward?  Being a manager or remaining a gift officer?”

“That donor gives me the creeps.”  (Applies to women fundraisers AND men.)  “Can I pair up with someone, or reassign?”

“Should I drive the 8 hours to see that donor, or spend some of our scarce budget to fly?”

“Do I document, every single week, my accomplishments, things I got done that I’m proud of, because I know for sure my boss ain’t doing so?”

“Am I looking at my job through rose-colored glasses?  Has it run its course for me?”

Fundraisers learn from the very beginning to look at what’s best for others.  Donor-centered fundraising.  It’s why fundraisers have such a hard time accepting a compliment.  It’s not about us.

Michelle Seitz reminds us of the Golden Rule:

Love others as you love yourself.  Be strategically selfish.

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