Welcome to the Wishnick & Associates blog! There is lots to read, based on experiences from my 16 years working with nonprofit, mission-driven organizations. I have written about strategic planning, capacity building, executive leadership transition, boards of directors, and more – lessons learned, effective principles, tips, and advice. My intended readers are nonprofit chief executives, board members, nonprofit staff (especially those aspiring to leadership roles), and anyone with an interest in myriad organizational issues. My hope is that through these blog articles, I can pass on a bit of the inspiration I get from my clients. Please let me know what you think, or if you have ideas for a future post … and do share these posts with others who may be interested. While I have moved to writing on a more occasional basis, there is a lot here to think about. Thank you for stopping by!
Ignore Infrastructure at Your Nonprofit’s Peril
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “infrastructure” as: “The underlying foundation or basic framework (as of a system or organization).”
Not particularly alluring.
Programs and services. Working with clients. Effecting change. Now we’re talking. Yet, without effective infrastructure, these are not achievable. (more…)
When a Team Member Isn’t Acting Like Part of the Team
“People always accommodate the most difficult person in the room.”
Shining City: A Novel, by Tom Rosenstiel
So many mission-driven organizations focus on improving and enriching the lives of individuals and families, enhancing communities, furthering understanding, and much more to make things better. Compassion and the desire to be responsive to needs is important in working with clients. However, when it expands into nonprofit management, manifesting as being slow to address the behaviors of a difficult staff member, it can cause dysfunction in the organization. In this post, I share one such scenario as a cautionary tale. (more…)
How to Talk About Succession Planning Without Causing Anxiety
I have never seen nonprofit executives and board members react with such discomfort as when someone mentions “succession.” There are usually awkward half-laughs, glances around the room to see how others are reacting, and then, a sense of liberation – finally, someone has mentioned the dreaded topic. The chief executive is concerned that mentioning succession will make the board think she/he is thinking about leaving. The board is concerned that it will send an unintended message to the chief executive that she/he should be thinking about moving on. If a founder is involved, let’s face it, the level of uneasiness skyrockets. (more…)
Are You Leading your Nonprofit with Courage?
Leading a nonprofit is hard work. Internal and external issues arise that demand attention, and the solutions may not be easy. When issues go unattended, they may become so significant that they potentially endanger the organization in some way. But this doesn’t need to be the case. With a strong leadership and skillful use of board meeting agendas, nonprofit executives and their boards can have the important conversations so they may be proactive and responsive and not caught off guard. (more…)
When It’s the Leader’s Turn to Be Reviewed
This post is adapted from a white paper I wrote several years ago. The topic continues to be relevant.
A nonprofit executive director’s performance review is about more than just how well she/he is doing the job. For the chief executive it is about leadership, professional development, sharing accomplishments (personal and organizational), receiving feedback, and goal setting. For the board, the chief executive’s performance evaluation is about leadership, fiduciary responsibility, being a responsible employer, goal setting and achievement, and success – success for the organization and the individual. (more…)
Old Year New Year: Permission to Dream
What is the best approach to the end of one year and the beginning of the next? Is it to continue carrying with us the weight of 2017? Or is it to enter 2018 unburdened and hopeful?
Sometimes when working on a strategic planning project with a client, they have difficulty keeping their eyes on the future. While all that has led up to strategic planning is formative, depending on the situation, it can serve to propel the organization forward, or it can impede its movement. (more…)