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The PeopleCap Playbook

Timely insights and actionable people strategies for leaders.

Rising Out of Crisis


The nonprofit sector was struggling before COVID-19 struck a blow of unimaginable force. Executive Directors were already overwhelmed, with many questioning their ability to stay energized and continue to lead. Fundraising was a constant race with uncertain gains in a competitive and continually growing field of nonprofits. A culture of scarcity had many organizations stuck in a loop of doing more with less only to do even more with even less, and so on. Continue reading “Rising Out of Crisis”

Katie is bringing PeopleCap’s expertise to Chicago

One of our own is moving forward with a major life transition. Katie Spencer is moving to Chicago! We are tremendously sad to see her leave Memphis, but we are grateful for the technology’s capacity to support our collaborative culture and allow us to keep working together. Continue reading “Katie is bringing PeopleCap’s expertise to Chicago”

PeopleCap helps organizations move forward with purpose.

As leaders face an overwhelming number of challenges and opportunities – two of the most common frustrations are the uncertainty and lack of control. Leaders want to know when this is going to end and what the world is going to look like on the other side. In many ways, both the present and the future seem out of their control. Continue reading “PeopleCap helps organizations move forward with purpose.”

Unconscious Bias and the Remote Workplace

Among all of the challenges and opportunities presented by COVID-19, there is a potential impact that that isn’t being discussed very much – if at all: The remote work situation provides fertile ground for unconscious bias. Continue reading “Unconscious Bias and the Remote Workplace”

You Don’t Have to Go It Alone: Executive Coaching Through Crisis and Beyond

The old adage “it’s lonely at the top” has endured for generations because it is a universal truth. As an Executive Leader, you are responsible for the decisions and actions of every employee in the organization. You are responsible, not only for making sure the trains run on time, but also for the overall direction of the company. Recently, the number of crises and urgent issues has increased exponentially – as have levels of exhaustion and stress. In the midst of trying to triage present issues, you are responsible for simultaneously finding the time and headspace to envision the future. Continue reading “You Don’t Have to Go It Alone: Executive Coaching Through Crisis and Beyond”

The Crisis in 3 Phases

Co-Authored by Katie Spencer & Meg Crosby

We have all been swept up in a tsunami of change that hit us hard and fast and has left us disoriented, exhausted, and with miles and miles to swim before we’re back on dry land. As we look to the horizon and plot our course, we can expect to navigate this crisis in three phases:

1. Manage Risk & Adapt
2. Stabilize & Adjust
3. Grow & Innovate Continue reading “The Crisis in 3 Phases”

Top Tips for Presenting on Zoom by Phil Darius Wallace

One night last week, my wife was online, as she often is before going to bed, and I found her amazingly excited about a DJ who decided to engage a worried world with a 9-hour dance party. DNice‘s dance party engaged everyday people and stars with dance music that took away 9 hours of anxiety and replaced it with a little taste of joy. DNice tapped into multi generations through numerous styles of music and got over 100,000 views. His sense of joy and compassion moved through phones, computers, and TV screens and uplifted us to help us cope with challenging times. He proved that we public speakers can reach our audiences and make meaningful connections through technology. Continue reading “Top Tips for Presenting on Zoom by Phil Darius Wallace”

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”

Keep Calm and Stay Connected

These are unprecedented times for businesses to be sure. Many of us have worked remotely on occasion, but few have worked entirely remotely – let alone managed a remote work force. I’ve had the pleasure of working with and learning from some successful virtual organizations. Here are 3 tips to keep your team inspired, productive and accountable while working from home. Continue reading “Keep Calm and Stay Connected”

Navigating Employee Layoffs in the Wake of COVID-19

The economic impact of COVID-19 is far-reaching and potentially devastating. Many small businesses are facing the very real possibility of shutting down. Larger businesses are confronted with the possibility of having to significantly reduce headcount to survive.

We tend to talk about these business decisions using sterile business terms like ‘Layoffs’ or ‘RIFs’ – terms that are highly impersonal. But for most leaders, decisions about letting people go are intensely personal. Continue reading “Navigating Employee Layoffs in the Wake of COVID-19”

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”

Before You Promote

There are multiple factors, completely unrelated to ability, that drive decisions to put employees in people management positions, including the desire to: attract and retain top talent; recognize and reward service; or the need for someone to manage a growing team. Often these ancillary reasons result in managers who can’t manage. Successful leadership development begins with leadership selection. Continue reading “Before You Promote”

100,000 Opportunities to Build or Dilute Your Culture – Lessons from Delta

By formulanone from Huntsville, United States - Delta N981EV Bombardier CRJ200 Takeoff ATL June 2015, CC BY-SA 2.0

Last year, I was asked to serve on a panel in Atlanta with senior executives of Cox Automotive, Rheem Manufacturing, and Delta to share insights on cultivating an effective culture. Cox Automotive, Rheem, and Delta were on the panel because of their vigilant commitment to maintaining a positive and productive culture for all of their employees. Collectively, they have over 100,000 employees, and their cultures are shaped every day by the actions and decisions of each of those 100,000 employees.

On my way to Atlanta, my Delta flight was delayed almost two hours. Fortunately, I was flying in the day before my panel, but most passengers were flying in for business meetings that day, and the delay was causing significant disruption to their schedules.  Tensions and frustrations were high. Continue reading “100,000 Opportunities to Build or Dilute Your Culture – Lessons from Delta”