The project put a lot of things on hold, including this blog. I'm glad to be back writing about intentional leadership -- leading by design -- for nonprofit boards and staffs. Certainly, my thoughts are now informed by the forthcoming book, in which Joan and I posit that nonprofits need to focus resources on leadership, not just management. Most cultural nonprofits are at a crossroad, as is the sector in general, where nothing is quite the same except the need (and even needs are greater, deeper, more serious). This is a time not just for sound management, but for exceptional, forward-leaning leadership.
Leadership is nurtured in organizations that are continually open to learning -- learning through self-assessment, trial and error, and adapting across industries. The common argument cautions that because our margins are too tight, our staffs spread too thin, it's impossible, even wasteful, to purposely pursue ideas and actions that weren't absolute sure things. Does that really get us anywhere?
This is a time to hone our pursuit of the calculated risk and the educated guess to support visions and missions that truly make a difference to the audiences and communities we serve. And that can't be done by hiding behind hidebound traditions, dated stereotypes, and some notion that it's okay to just muddle through.