• board development,  governance,  leadership

    What kind of board member will you be?

    Start with Part One. Read Part two. In my previous posts on governance, I covered the essence of board service and then the bad behaviors seen in many nonprofit boards. Today’s post will focus on the behaviors that all board members should strive toward. If you are lucky enough to serve on a board full of these board members, count your blessings. And if you aren't, then now is a good time to start working on that. Facilitator: This is the board member who likes to hear all view points while keeping the discussion moving. They make excellent Chairs but if carried out to a fault, can result in meetings…

  • board development,  culture,  governance,  leadership

    Don’t be like these board members!

    Start with Part One. In Part One of this series on Governance, we talked about board service in general including the basic responsibilities of board members.  Before reading part two of the series, I encourage you to start with the Board service basics. In the next two posts, we will get into the various board member behaviors that are common on nonprofit boards of all types. Today's post includes those board behaviors that you hope never to witness. By exploring these behaviors before you experience them, my hope is that you will be better equipped to address them when they occur. Board member characteristics I hope you never encounter: Absentee:…

  • board development,  decision-making,  governance,  purpose

    Are You Ready for Board Service?

    Nonprofit organizations that have an engaged board of directors are stronger financially, attract qualified staff in greater numbers, and have better outcomes. There are many schools of thought regarding what makes a good board - or good board members. Some believe the board must be made up of movers and shakers in the community. Other organizations look for deep pockets willing to contribute to the organization. There are those who believe that a strong board includes people of varied backgrounds and skills - finance, law, marketing, risk management, etc. And still others seek people who are committed to the cause they are organized around - environmentalists on an environmental organization's…

  • culture,  governance,  leadership,  performance management,  values

    Workplace Bullies

    Bullying in the workplace is a serious problem that doesn't get enough attention. Having experienced workplace bullying, I can attest that it makes work life unbearable.  It affects workers, productivity, and culture in significant ways, but is too often ignored.  In our consulting work at Leadership Bridges we often (but certainly not always) find that organizations experiencing dysfunction also have a history of harassment and bullying. Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik, Gary Namie, and Ruth Namie, in their article Workplace Bullying: Causes, Consequences, and Corrections, define workplace bullying as "repeated, health-harming mistreatment that takes one or more of the following forms: verbal abuse; offensive conduct and behaviors that are threatening, humiliating or intimidating;…

  • mission,  purpose,  vision

    Building Cathedrals

      The news of the tragic fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris brought to mind this classic story: A man came upon a construction site where three people were working.  He asked the first, “What are you doing?” and the worker replied: “I am laying bricks.” He asked the second, “What are you doing?” and the worker replied: “I am building a wall.” As he approached the third, he heard the worker humming a tune, and asked, “What are you doing?” The worker stood, looked up at the sky, and smiled, “I am building a cathedral!” (source unknown) What do you think about the attitude of these three workers?…

  • culture,  leadership,  performance management,  team building,  transitions

    The tainted star

    We’ve all met them. Many of us have worked with them. And sometimes we have had to fire them. The “them” I am talking about are those star performers who also have issues relating to those around them. If you give this star an assignment they can perform independently, they excel. But once you pair them with others, the trouble begins.  You often don’t recognize the signs quickly either. In my experience, these stars tend to be self-starters. they have great skills in project management, research, and follow through. On the one hand, you appreciate how well they perform the tasks and projects you assign them. But conversely they tend…

  • leadership,  succession,  team building,  values

    Five Lessons on Leadership

    I served as the executive director of a fine nonprofit organization for 13 years and recently retired. (See my bio here.) I put my heart and my soul into the work. It became my identity, my quest, and my passion. I believe (ok, I know!) we did some pretty good things in those 13 years. But that is not the point of this post.  The point is the many good things that happened in the last month as I said goodbye that provide important lessons for leadership. So many people sent me inspiring notes or said nice things about me and to me during this time. They said what I…

  • board development,  executive successions,  succession,  transitions

    Why is succession planning so hard?

    Today’s nonprofit organizations are facing a brain drain that is unprecedented in modern society. Curtis R. Welling and John H. Vogel Jr. note that “for small and mid-sized nonprofit organizations, the average term for an executive director or CEO is about six years.” (The Nonprofit Quarterly, May 21, 2017) A 2006 CompassPoint/Meyer Foundation study  concluded that 10% to 15% of nonprofit organizations hire a new executive every year and that between 60% to 75% of nonprofit executive directors had a plan to leave their position within the next five years. It may surprise you to learn that a six month gap between an executive director leaving and a new leader…

  • goals,  mission,  strategic planning,  strategy,  values,  vision

    FAQ: Strategic Planning

    Frequently Asked Questions About The Strategic Plan A note from Leadership Bridges: We have been asked to provide answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about various organizational governance, leadership, strategy, and operations topics that we have encountered in our work.  This first FAQ topic is about Strategic Planning. We believe this topic should be first because an organization’s strategic plan provides the foundation for all the good work that follows. As you read this FAQ, let us know if you have other questions about strategic planning that we should answer. What other topics should we cover in future FAQ posts?  Let us hear from you – either through the comments…

  • decision-making,  development stages,  ethics,  leadership

    The more you know

    “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” – Bertrand Russell Have you ever known someone who was so very uninformed, did very dumb things, acted just plain stupid, but yet THOUGHT they were super smart? Come to find out, and my experience bears this out, the dumber someone is, the smarter they think they are. Conversely,  the smarter one is, the less confidence they have in their intelligence.  They’ve even done some scientific studies that prove the point. and it has a name: The Dunning-Kruger Effect. Sufferers have what has been called illusory superiority, where people overestimate their positive qualities and…

Scroll Up