Before I assumed the position of President and CEO of the Las Vegas Federation, I consulted people that I considered mentors. I receive a lot of great advice and perspective. One piece of advice in particular dealt with the unique and complex nature of managing a Federation. I was told that, "No one would ever think of calling the CEO of the Symphony to tell him/her to play more Bach or Handel, but no one in the Jewish community will hesitate even a second to tell you how to run the Federation." Anyone who has worked in the Jewish community knows that there is a lot of truth to this statement. This said, I feel that I'm self-aware enough to know what I don't know and would never claim to have all of the answers to the issues that are impacting our community.
Now, this isn't to say that it's not acceptable to relay your thoughts on the Federation and/or our community. In fact, I welcome any and all feedback, and it is part of the reason why I write this weekly blog, but I have two main caveats: 1) If you are going to raise an issue that is negatively impacting our community, be prepared to assist it ameliorating it.
There is nothing more frustrating than to hear a 15 minute expert lecture on what is wrong, without hearing any solutions. Let's spend less time on elaborating on the perceived issue and more time on finding possible solutions. I know that this is, at times counter-intuitive for the Jewish community, but we must start thinking this way. The rule in one of my first jobs was that I was not allowed to raise a problem without bringing two possible solutions. It didn't matter is the solutions were correct, but it showed some effort in solving the problem.
2) Please try not to mistake your opinion for fact. This one is pretty clear, but we all fall into the trap. Between cable news and the Internet, we can all find information that perfectly fits our opinions. If we find enough sources that sound like us, we tend to believe that what we are thinking is a fact. When this applies to the Jewish community…I am more than happy to verify if what you are hearing or thinking is in fact a fact. My email address is at the bottom of this article, please let me know. Disseminating opinion based facts leads to a community that may be misinformed on what resources and opportunities actually exist.
So please be in touch. Let's talk about your pain points in the community. I would love to hear your possible solutions and see if they are implementable. One organization or one group of people are not going to solve the issues that we face, it is going to take a community to clear many of these hurdles. I encourage you to be in touch me or any of my colleagues and let's work together to make the Las Vegas Jewish Community the best it can possibly be. There is a lot of work to do and only us to do it.
As always, I welcome your comments and feedback at Todd@jewishlasvegas.com