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The PeopleCap Playbook

Timely insights and actionable people strategies for leaders.

A Framework for Scaling Down or Shifting Rapidly

None of us has seen a moment quite like this. Unfortunately, while some are scaling up at rocket speed to get food to those in need and provide medical care to those without insurance, far too many organizations are facing the reality of urgently scaling back or shifting resources in the hopes of surviving this crisis. Continue reading “A Framework for Scaling Down or Shifting Rapidly”

Reinforcing and Nurturing Culture During Major Disruption

My cat interrupted PeopleCap’s team meeting this morning. With children at home from school, a strong desire to do our part to keep our neighbors safe, and the great privilege of work flexibility, we’ve been working and meeting via Zoom for the last week. I expect distractions from my kids from time to time, but hadn’t calculated the feline fussing. Continue reading “Reinforcing and Nurturing Culture During Major Disruption”

Free Coaching throughout This Week

The world feels upside down.

We’re here to help!

If you need a thought partner to think through your strategies or just need to vent, we’re available.

Katie is offering FREE strategic coaching sessions for nonprofit Executive Directors

throughout this week.

Reserve a coaching session time while openings last:

Email: Katie.Spencer@peoplecap.com

PeopleCap will also be scheduling some free group coaching sessions and webinars in the coming days.

Stay tuned!

In the meantime, let us know what webinar topics would be most helpful at this time.

Leading in Uncertain Times

We are facing uncertain times, for sure. There are a lot of questions we simply don’t have answers to. There is a lot of stress.

There is also a lot to feel really good about within the nonprofit community – in fact, it’s filling my heart and making we want to scream the rest of this post from the rooftops! Continue reading “Leading in Uncertain Times”

We’re Burning Out Our Leaders

A shocking number of nonprofit professionals live in a state of overwhelm and near burnout. According to Kathleen Kelly Janus in her book Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up, and Make a Difference, 50% of nonprofit employees are on the verge of burning out, a statistic that is even higher for nonprofit leaders. Too many nonprofit EDs live in a state of exhaustion for extended periods of time. And, it’s not because they fall short on leadership skills: I believe it’s due to several factors that are unique to the nonprofit sector. Continue reading “We’re Burning Out Our Leaders”

Saying No is the Key to Having an Impact

In the nonprofit world, we struggle with saying no. We hate to think that we might (1) hurt someone’s feelings, ruffle feathers or (2) fail to do something that could improve someone’s life.  This empathy and commitment to help are what make nonprofit professionals so exceptional. It’s what allows them to work long hours for less pay. It’s what inspires them to lend their time and talents to hard work, day after day. It’s also what keeps them working harder and harder but feeling like they’re not realizing the desired result of all that effort. It’s what burns them out. Continue reading “Saying No is the Key to Having an Impact”

Grow Your Board’s Fundraising Ability

How do I get my board to raise money?

Most nonprofits expect (hope, perhaps) that their board will raise money for them or at least strongly support their fundraising efforts. And yet it’s a common frustration among nonprofit leaders that their boards are falling short of those expectations. The reality, in my experience, is that very few organizations set their board members up to be successful at raising funds. Continue reading “Grow Your Board’s Fundraising Ability”

Culture of Scarcity is Crushing the Nonprofit World

In another sector, alarm bells would be going off – talent is not keeping pace with technology and the strategic skills needed in a competitive, knowledge-based climate. Innovation is stifled, if alive at all. Spending is a bad word.

We’ve starved the nonprofit sector in the name of fiscal prudence grounded within the myth that running lean is a virtuous strategy. In the for-profit realm, we would expect overly anemic organizations to fold or completely reinvent themselves to oxygenate back to health. In the nonprofit world, we consider it a badge of honor to do more for less, chase our tails for a pittance, and live with the insecurity of our livelihoods failing to be renewed in the next grant cycle. Continue reading “Culture of Scarcity is Crushing the Nonprofit World”

History of Underinvestment in Talent

pothole and traffic cones in road

The nonprofit sector has a long history and culture of underinvesting in talent. In the name of financial stewardship and the doctrine of mission, nonprofit employees have existed within a culture where working harder for less money is a badge of honor. As admirable as this commitment to working for the benefit of our communities and others has been, over time the ratchet effect of lower wages in ever tightening budgets, lack of investment in professional development, and the organic burgeoning of nonprofit roles in which people continue to take on more and more responsibility without increase in compensation has led to the sector falling far behind in talent compensation. Continue reading “History of Underinvestment in Talent”

Leading Young Employees

baby in a necktie

A lot of leaders are struggling to lead young team members effectively. And sure, some of it relates to the Millennial generation. There are generational markers that shape our perspectives: My generation had MTV and Nintendo, Millennials have social media and smart phones. Those things definitely shape who we are. But I also think many of us Gen Xers were ambitious, impatient, wanting the world and quite convinced that we could be doing a better job in the CEO’s chair (okay, well I certainly was). Continue reading “Leading Young Employees”

Listening Is Therapy

red sofa therapy couch

While conducting interviews with employees for a client, one person leaned in at the close of the interview and said, “You’re so easy to talk to. Thank you so much – it feels like therapy!”

The great part was that this organization isn’t facing any issue of note and the interview was pretty basic, as interviews in my world go – nothing heavy or emotional came up. It’s not uncommon for people to respond this way following an hour telling me about their work lives, some even get a bit choked up or cry. Continue reading “Listening Is Therapy”

Don’t Let Your Team Sink

image by mellin paulo bernardo
image by mellin paulo bernardo

How We Miss Each Other Based on Differing Interpretations of Shared Experiences

When I coach teams struggling to build trust and get on the same page, I’ve started asking a new question: “What is the pressure on you and where does it come from?”

Over time I’ve learned that in many types of relationships we miss each other, just barely, due to misinterpretation of a shared experience – like ships passing. Continue reading “Don’t Let Your Team Sink”