April 27, 2015

“Selling” What We Do

  Being relatively new to the President/CEO role, I have had to step out of my comfort zone frequently, in particular when it comes to building new relationships.  As I have met people interested in contributing to Open Options UCP, I have found I am at ease talking about our programs and services but quickly get anxious and uncomfortable when it comes to making an actual “ask.”  I’ve found myself feeling like a manipulative salesperson, trying to talk people into doing something they don’t want to do.  “Jim, I can get you in this great car today AND at a price my boss normally doesn’t allow,” I hear myself saying, just before they leave the lot and the car breaks down.  After expressing this anxiety, a Board member offered some words of wisdom that have really stuck with me.  He reminded me that I’m not selling a product that I […]
April 10, 2015

Dignity of Risk

  “The essence of independence has been to think and act according to standards from within, not without: to follow one’s own path, not that of the crowd.”  ― Nicholas Tharcher One of the many stereotypes or preconceived notions about people with disabilities is that they cannot make decisions for themselves.  Because of their disability, we believe they need instruction and guidance; otherwise they will do things that are harmful, unsafe or dangerous.  With the best intentions (to keep the person safe), employees sometimes believe they must become the instructor and decision-maker for the person served.  With the decision-making power now in someone else’s hands, the person is subject to the specific values and beliefs of someone else (oftentimes someone they just met).  In my own experiences, one of the biggest frustrations I have heard from the persons I have served has been for people to stop telling them what […]