Strategic Planning has always been a key leadership tool in the development of successful for-profit organizations. Its format and time scope may vary, but it serves as an important function in business success. It has helped many businesses focus their priorities on future growth and profitability.
What about non-profit charitable organizations? Although their objectives are not to generate a profit or provide its stockholders with a dividend, they must look into the future to increase its service to the communities it serves and find the necessary funding to support those services. Their ultimate success may not be defined as business success, but is measured in the effectiveness of their humanitarian service. Stripped of profitability goals and materialistic rewards, these organizations face enormous challenges in focusing their efforts and motivating those involved.… Read the rest
Leadership wisdom from Simon Sinek To be authentic is to be imperfect.
Authenticity is about imperfection. And authenticity is a very human quality. To be authentic is to be at peace with your imperfections.
Great leaders are not the strongest; they are the ones who are honest about their weaknesses. Great leaders are not the smartest; they are the ones who admit how much they don’t know. Great leaders can’t do everything; they are the ones who look to others to help them. Great leaders don’t see themselves as great; they see themselves as human.
Great leaders don’t try to be perfect, they try to be themselves … and that’s what makes them great.
It is widely understood that listening is an important skill in a wide range of activities. To be a great leader or manager, you must be a good listener. To be a good salesperson, you must learn to listen to the needs of your customer or client. To be a good teacher, you must listen to the feedback from your class. To be a good parent, you must listen to the questions from your children. Listening is especially important in being a good spouse.… Read the rest
Nonprofit boards of directors can either be a great asset to an organization or of little value. They are required by law to ensure that the public good is furthered. They can be viewed by the staff as being important to the organization or a nuisance. Let’s consider three areas of concern. Who should be on a board? What should the board and its member do? What should be the on-boarding process for new members?… Read the rest
We often wonder if we can change the way people in our organization behave. It seems like such an impossible task, but much work has been done in understanding some basic concepts which leaders can use to modify the behavior of others and improve productivity. How do you correct the behavior of a staff member who is always late or someone who wants to take up your time complaining about others? How do you develop a more productive group or team? There are some concepts and ideas which can help with these matters.… Read the rest
When the almighty created each of us he threw away the mold. No two us have the same personalities, think in the same way, or are motivated by the same things. This is one of the great wonders of the world, but it provides us as leaders with some difficult challenges. Why do people react differently to what we say? Who is best suited to handle a role in our group? How do I best motivate an individual? Let’s consider a better way to answer these questions.
Physiologists tell us that there are four general dimensions of behavioral styles; decisiveness, interactive, stabilizing and cautiousness. Part of what makes each person an individual is their unique combination of these four dimensions of behavior.… Read the rest
In Traction-Get a Grip on Your Business, Gino Wickman provides insights for success in entrepreneurial for-profit businesses; but with some modification, many of his concepts need to be considered by nonprofits. Whether the organization is cause-based, membership-based or a foundation, these concepts can be applied to insure success.
Let’s consider the six key areas described in Traction and how they apply to nonprofit organizations. They are: vision, people, data, issues, process and traction.… Read the rest
Surveys have indicated that most workers have had a bad boss. I have, haven’t you? They are slow to praise, but quick to point out errors. They spend most of their time in their office and leadership meeting. They are seldom seen wandering through the office and talking with the staff. A survey conducted by the Chicago based LaSalle network discovered that most people have had a bad boss.… Read the rest
We recently conducted a workshop at the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives in Savannah GA. There were approximately 120 chamber leaders, from across the nation, and the question was asked, how many have a formal strategic planning process? There was an overwhelmingly positive show of hands. The response from these participants reflects our experience with all nonprofits, that most have a strategic planning process. It may vary in timing or method, but it is essential to the success of the group. Without it, there can be a loss of faith from those who invest their time, trust and resources to an organization.… Read the rest
Warren Buffet is quoted as saying, “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.” Mr. Buffet is considered one of the smartest investors in the modern era. One might say that he is a very knowledgeable investor. What makes him a knowledgeable investor? I would suggest that he works hard to become knowledgeable in the companies in which he invests. He learns to know their management, their product/services, their people, their plans, their competitors, their markets, their technologies and their people. He never assumes anything or works on a tip. He is in a constant search for knowledge.… Read the rest
David Allen is quoted as saying, “You can do anything, but not everything.” In the process of building growth plans for various size businesses, there comes a point where the team begins to put together ideas for the future. Those plans are expressed in terms of goals and action plans to support those goals. Members of the team tend to be optimistic about their future or they would not be invoked in such a planning process. The result is a list of plans and ideas which are far beyond the capacity of the organization to accomplish. At that point, priorities have to be established.… Read the rest
I am reminded of a moment in Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Darcy tells Elizabeth Bennet, “I cannot forget the follies and vices of others so as I ought, nor their offences against myself.” She then admits, “My good opinion once lost is lost forever.” In our consideration of leadership we must understand that trust is a quality developed over time but easily lost. It is an essential part of the leadership attributes of anyone who leads a business or organization.
Warren Buffet is quoted as saying, “Look for 3 things in a person, intelligence, energy, and integrity. If they don’t have the first one, don’t even bother with the first two.”
We are often in a social situation where we meet people, who will eventually ask us, what we do. When we reply that part of our practice is business coaching they often reply, “OH that’s nice.” They say that in a way which indicates that they are unsure of what that means and are fearful of finding out more about the subject. They assume that they are well equipped to handle their business issues or that this is a “touchy feely” subject that makes them uncomfortable.… Read the rest
Leadership is a key element in the development or rebirth of any organization, whether it is a for-profit business or non-profit community organization. It is important to large corporations, such as General Electric; small local businesses, such as a town dry cleaner; city, county and state government; churches, and service organizations such as Rotary.… Read the rest
One of the skills necessary for success in any business or nonprofit organization is the ability to chart a course. To properly chart a course, it is important to understand first where you are, than where you want to go, and finally the plan on how to get there. If you have ever been in a new town and wanted to go out to dinner, you might have first looked for a restaurant in a magazine. You then call to find out where they were located. The first question you were asked by the person in the restaurant is where are you now? In fact, you have just taken the first step in charting a course to dinner.… Read the rest
As a person in a nonprofit organization, you understand the importance of leadership in the success of your business. It may also be true that you don’t have a clear understanding of how to improve your leadership skills. Whether you are the sole employee or have a staff of dozens, improved leadership skills can make a difference. When you think of a successful leader, ask yourself:
What specific personality characteristic does this person possess?
How does this person relate to others, professionally and socially?
Great teamwork is one of the most important keys to your organization’s success. The more harmoniously people work together, the better it is for your overall efforts. Teamwork is the way that things get done these days and if you don’t have a cohesive team, you’re seriously handicapping your company out in the marketplace. Team building is necessary for success because it’s unnatural for people to come together in a new group and immediately begin to get along. Throughout history, building a team has been the function of shared experiences and history. When that experience and history is lacking, it’s difficult for a group to share a common vision and goal, or to function together in a way that promotes the best qualities of each team participant.… Read the rest
Charles Kettering, famous inventor and founder of Delco, once said, “We should be all concerned about the future because we will spend the rest of our lives there.” The ability to have a vision of what you personally perceive as success is a key element in your business venture and your personal life. Where are you going and what will in look like when you get there? A meaningful vision not only provides direction, but it helps people find meaning in their work and a reason to excel.… Read the rest