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Showing posts from October, 2011

Can You Plan Without Passion?

WELL, I GUESS THE SHORT ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION IS 'YES'.  Plans are concocted everyday for all sorts of things from grocery lists to multi-year programmatic initiatives and I can see where many of them can be accomplished with little reflection and less excitement for the results.  There are proponents who assure us that even the most complex plans can be achieved with short, highly focused bursts of effort.  And, indeed, that's possible.  But it seems to me that any plan will lack dimension and luster if it's written as an internal 'beat the clock' exercise or a requirement to satisfy someone else's desire. The best planning is borne of possibility and one's own desire to marry the here-and-now with the what-if's and can-do's.  Its underlying thesis has everything to do with making aspirations reality, even if the aspiration is as universal or as necessary as getting out of debt or revisioning the work of a downsized staff.   When done right,

The Boardroom Blues

DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR? So, what should be on the agenda instead?     How about trying a little strategy ....  using the organization's plan and key success indicators to evaluate how well program is meeting mission?    Maybe ditching most of those reports of past activities to free up time to discuss future steps? How about breaking into smaller discussion groups for a deeper dive into issues? Would a staff or volunteer presentation, a brief tour of a project, or a hands-on activity help board members to better understand your challenges and opportunities? We talk a lot about how to engage audiences.  Shouldn't engagement of the board be a top priority?

Leading With Your Servant's Heart

THERE'S NO DOUBT ABOUT IT:  WORKING IN THE NONPROFIT SECTOR is an act of commitment -- often an act of faith -- and always an act of service.  Doesn't matter if you're the head of a major performing arts center or a volunteer manning the reception desk, most of us are drawn to the sector because its meaning is bigger than us. I became more conscious of this reality this summer as I listened to the staff leaders of a nonprofit repeatedly introduce themselves by using the words "I serve".  I wrote about that experience here and since then I've had a lively exchange with one of my former clients about this wonderful notion of nonprofit service and the importance of the words we choose to describe our relationships to the organizations we care about. Imagine my delight when I discovered Ken Blanchard's post , Keep Focused on Your 'Servant Heart' : Try to keep focused on leading with a servant’s heart .  It can be part of your daily habits, such as