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. […]
“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. […]
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 […]
You have just hired a new senior executive. Congratulations! Now what?
When the search activities conclude, the transition continues and a well-planned onboarding process is critical. In the best scenario, a transition task force (which might be the search committee) will have contact with the new executive in the period from offer acceptance to first day on the job. Having a plan for this “in-between” time will make onboarding go more smoothly. It will also permit the transition task force to discuss onboarding with the new executive to learn what she/he would like included.
Onboarding a new nonprofit executive may seem daunting. Depending on the size and complexity of an organization, […]
Welcome to Your (New) World!
It’s 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night. The doorbell rings. You open the door and greet your dinner guests. You say, “So glad to see you! The coat closet is over there (pointing). Make yourselves at home. Just go in the kitchen, I think there’s some wine and some food. You’re smart, I know you’ll figure it out and cook up something. I’m going to run upstairs and take a shower. Back soon.”
It’s difficult to imagine inviting guests over with such little forethought. What would Miss Manners say about this inhospitable “hello”? […]
Nonprofit chief executives and their board members do not simply wake up one morning with the following revelations:
- The demographics of the area they serve have changed;
- Funding for a signature program is at risk; or
- High staff turnover is a dangerous threat to service delivery.
Yet, nonprofit leaders confront these realities often. When I read a story or hear about a nonprofit in extremis, I wonder if the leadership has been asleep at the wheel. Did no one see the signs? Why did they not point these things out to each other? What were they (or were they not) talking about at board meetings? […]
As the adage goes, the only constant in life is change. When a transition occurs at the top of any organization, it needs to be managed with good judgment and planning for the future success of the organization and all its stakeholders. In a nonprofit, it is the board’s role to handle this process.
Why Conduct a Needs Assessment?
Indeed, the stakes are high for a nonprofit board of directors charged with the responsibility of managing an executive leadership transition. Among the many questions that loom are:
- What is the scope of the chief executive’s job?
- What are the necessary skills the next chief executive must possess in order to lead the organization […]
A new year often inspires life changes, big or small. Among these are the decision to pursue a new job or career. Because employees at all levels contribute to the fulfillment of your mission, nonprofit leaders need to be tuned into staffing transitions throughout the organization. How a nonprofit executive copes with staff transitions both draws from and contributes to the organizational culture. If handled well, a staff transition can boost an organization’s well-being and capacity, but if handled poorly, morale and service continuity can suffer. […]