I was sharing the results of a Leadership Assessment with a CEO when she remarked, “I’ve been leading for me.” It took me a second to understand what she meant: she had been leading the way she needed to be led earlier in her career. And it wasn’t clicking with her team. Continue reading “Leading the Team You Have”
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”
Labor Day is behind us – ughhh, I know – which means the last part of the year will roll by quickly, as it always does. It also means it’s time to get your board retreat or team planning meeting on the calendar. Continue reading “Retreat and Training Opportunities”
Sustainability is a top priority for nonprofit executives and boards everywhere. Long-term financial viability is, of course, the main job of the executive director and board: without the ability to survive, the organization has no future. Continue reading “Who Says Sustainability is Boring?”
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”
Great nonprofit boards are hard to come by. I won’t call them unicorns – there are certainly a good number of effective, engaged, value-add boards – but they also aren’t commonplace. Continue reading “The Board Coach”
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”
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”
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”
Nonprofit leaders – stop selling yourself short when it comes to recruiting great talent! The nonprofit sector is an incredible career path for a bevy of reasons. Use that to your advantage to find great talent and make sure candidates know how you can positively impact their career trajectory. Continue reading “Go for it: Pursue Top Talent!”
By now, most of us have attended some training session where we practiced listening and repeating back to a partner what we heard. The importance of listening has been drilled into us for a while. But in my experience, a lot of leaders fail at Listening 101. Continue reading “When Leaders Don’t Listen”
People drive results. They are the key ingredient for achieving nonprofit mission impact or its greatest impediment. If people are not performing at their highest potential, the organization isn’t either.
The buck stops with the ED. An Executive Director’s primary responsibility is to realize mission impact – primarily through other people – board, employees, volunteers, etc. Great leaders know how to mobilize, engage and grow their people to unlock their potential and maximize impact. Continue reading “People Drive Results”
At some point, leadership transition is a reality for all companies. One HR executive I recently spoke to is concerned that her 300-person company has built such amazing employee loyalty that approximately 35% of their workforce will retire in the next five years! Another organization is concerned that their founder-based brand will not survive the CEO’s retirement. And the CEO of yet another larger company has unintentionally sparked a c-suite jousting match leaving his executive team more focused on positioning themselves for his crown than on working together to run the company.
I recently walked into a client’s office and immediately thought, “Wow. Guys work here.” Everything from the décor and furniture to the lack of communal spaces screamed “Men’s Club.”
This client is determined to diversify his workforce and figure out how to recruit more people of color and women to their company. The CEO’s intent is genuine: he knows it’s the right thing to do and that his company’s future depends on building a more diverse workforce. With this goal in mind he has already begun taking some important steps toward gender inclusion including mentoring women and adopting more flexible workplace policies. Continue reading “Set the Stage for Gender Diversity”