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The PeopleCap Playbook

Timely insights and actionable people strategies for leaders.

No Short Cuts on a Ladder

Recently I attended my first wedding as a “friend of the Groom’s parents.” I’m happy to report the wedding circuit redux is as much fun as the first time around but with less responsibility. (I didn’t have to wear a bridesmaid’s dress or write a toast!) In between the first dance, the cutting of the cake and the dance floor favorite, “Twist and Shout,” the conversation among the parents of 20-somethings turned to child’s career plans.

One common theme from this group of highly accomplished professional parents was this: Our kids from the on-demand generation may not fully understand that the road to success is long. Continue reading “No Short Cuts on a Ladder”

Good Governance: Evaluating the Executive Director

Evaluating the Executive Director doesn’t have to be painful, overly time consuming or complicated, but it does need to happen.

Evaluating the ED is about three things: goal setting, alignment, and accountability. An ED’s evaluation actually begins 12 months out when the Board and ED work together to establish and agree upon goals for the following year. The process helps to align the Board and ED around those goals and set expectations for how they will work together to achieve them. At the end of the 12 months, the evaluation becomes largely about accountability. Were the goals met? Why or why not? Continue reading “Good Governance: Evaluating the Executive Director”

Good Governance Gets You Through a Crisis

Last week, I got a call from a non-profit in crisis. Trouble inside the organization spilled over into the board room when frustrated employees began calling board members to complain about the Executive Director. Because the Board Chair had not been evaluating the Executive Director annually, he was caught off guard by the sudden negative feedback and became very defensive.

As the issue heated up, the Board Chair, unequipped or unwilling to deal with it, abruptly resigned. Though the by-laws provided for a full complement of officers to carry on in the absence of the Chair, the board had not been abiding by those by-laws and did not have anyone in place to assume the role. When an emergency meeting was called, only a handful of members showed up, signaling a systemic lack of engagement. Continue reading “Good Governance Gets You Through a Crisis”

What We’re Reading: Measure What Matters

book cover Measure What Matters

One of PeopleCap’s 6 Imperatives for High Performance  is “Sharpen Focus.” We are always looking for creative ways to help our client companies set clear direction and align their organization accordingly. It was with that in mind that I picked up a copy of Measure What Matters by John Doerr to read at the beach this summer. It inspired me to sharpen my own focus and put into practice the organizational goal setting methodology detailed in the book that promises to “turn good ideas into superior execution.” Continue reading “What We’re Reading: Measure What Matters”

Culture is the Boss

The topic of corporate culture is ubiquitous. You cannot open a copy of the Harvard Business Review or a McKinsey Blog without seeing some reference to corporate culture and the need for executives and boards to manage it. And while there has been a lot published on this topic, we still find that many don’t quite understand what “it” is: They don’t understand what culture is and why it is so important. So, for them, I offer this explanation: Culture is the Boss when the Boss is not around. Continue reading “Culture is the Boss”

Board Meetings Are Boring.

bored at a board meeting

I estimate that I have sat through over 100 board (bored?) meetings over the last 10 years and, frankly, I want those hours back.

CEOs complain about a lack of board engagement. But it is impossible to be engaged while sitting through two hours of a quarterly review listing every single task the organization accomplished over the last three months. The truth is that board members do have a lot of value to add. And they are eager to add it. The challenge for CEOs is to run a meeting that invites participation and thought leadership.

Boost your board engagement by changing your agenda. Carve out time in each meeting to: Inform, Educate and Engage. Continue reading “Board Meetings Are Boring.”