For weeks now, we all have been reading emails and website homepage notices outlining actions in response to COVID-19. As a consultant to nonprofits, I am deeply moved by the deliberations and decisions made by my nonprofit clients and other organizations I know. Daily, our clients are meeting human needs in profound ways. Most must push through to attend to their vulnerable clients and take care of their employees at the same time. Others are faced with the need to pull back for the safety and health of their staff and clients. Nonprofit responses are unique and situational. […]
The cold open works for Saturday Night Live, not so much for a nonprofit board meeting. Isn’t it respectful of board members’ time to launch directly into the business at hand? Even though it may seem that way, I’m not so sure.
Nonprofit boards are fueled by many things. Most notably, of course, is an individual director’s connection to the mission. And, effective, thriving nonprofit organizations are led by board members who are committed partners in their leadership and governance roles. To be successful in this endeavor, board members need to trust each other. And, to build trust, they need to know each other. […]
I love Thanksgiving. It is a joy to be together with family, to enjoy longtime traditions and to create new ones as the family grows. It is also a time when I reflect on the year about to end and that for which I am grateful. Although this year is notable for celebrating 15 years of Wishnick & Associates, it is the work that makes every day special. Each engagement has offered the opportunity to renew client relationships or develop new ones and always to be part of an organization’s efforts to be more effective. Thank you to everyone I worked with this year and to those of you who […]
Nonprofit chief executives and board chairs share the desire for their organizations to thrive. Developing a strong working relationship is essential to making this happen. Leading by example – as a cohesive team – you set a tone that can resonate organization-wide. […]
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. […]
“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. […]
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. […]
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. […]
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. […]
Earlier this fall, an executive coaching client introduced me to the following quote by Existential psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl, which continues to resonate in my mind:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
I can’t get it out of my head! It is relevant and important every day, for all of us. It helps us think before we speak. It keeps us from reacting in habitual ways. It affords us opportunity to shape our lives, to do our finest work, to tackle seemingly insurmountable obstacles, to continually strive to be our […]