• burnout,  communication

    The COVID Effect

    It is a trite understatement to proclaim that we are all experiencing frustration and fatigue from COVID-19. Yet it is true. In the early days, it seemed temporary. As days devolved into weeks and weeks into months, our response needs some adjustment. This article is an attempt to cut through some of the noise to arrive at some practical advice for organizational leaders on how to cope – personally and as a team. Restoring normalcy - and sanity I recently asked a group of nonprofit executives for their best advice on dealing with the stress, the organizational impact, and the staff relations issues resulting from the pandemic. Their responses were…

  • communication,  development stages,  leadership,  performance management

    “No One Ever Told Me”

    I make a mean apple crisp. I’m locally famous for it. My daughter, the pickiest of picky eaters, would never even try it, asking for vanilla ice cream instead. Then finally, one Thanksgiving while she was home from college, she accepted her helping of apple crisp with delight. I asked what changed, and she replied with a straight face, “No one ever told me how good it was!” Oops, guess I missed that lesson in Parenting, 101. It got me thinking about the value of lived experience to expand one's perspective. I have seen many “No one ever told me” examples during my career that point to the importance of…

  • communication,  culture,  purpose

    Five tips for communicating in uncertain times

    During times of uncertainty like the world is experiencing now, leaders are called upon to step forward with decisiveness, empathy, and transparency. It there ever was a time we are living in a VUCA world, it is now. VUCA, of course, stands for volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous and was first conceptualized by the U.S. Army War College in 1987. Leaders who consider the VUCA implications of their environments are better able to plan for success in spite of these factors. In the COVID-19/VUCA world, you must be prepared to communicate boldly and decisively to your team and your various constituencies. Your organization, your staff, and maybe even your community…

  • culture,  leadership,  team building

    We thrive on validation

    Dictionary.com defines validate as: "to make valid; substantiate; confirm." In our various "selves" we are always seeking it. We hope people will recognize our talents and say things like: "You're such a good Mom (or Dad)." "What an incredible athlete you are!" "How did you learn to draw like that?" We REALLY, REALLY seek validation on social media.  Those likes and hearts and shares all serve to validate us, don't they? It's true at work, too. Everyone wants their ideas to be recognized as brilliant, or at least as solid. But when the boss fails to appreciate workers, they become demoralized, disengaged, and sometimes even disgruntled. On more than one occasion…

  • goals,  leadership,  succession,  team building,  transitions

    Three Commitments for 2020

    Let's be honest. New Year Resolutions are overrated. First, they rarely last, and second, they usually try to fix something about the past rather than focusing on strengthening the future. Image by skeeze from Pixabay What if instead of resolving to"do better" we commit to "add value" to our careers and our organizations?  Let's not call them resolutions either. Commitment is a much better description, don't you think?  These three commitments are a great start for a better 2020. Commit to developing stronger relationships in 2020. Most of us really hate networking and avoid it when we can. Just admit that you hate it, but commit do it anyway -…

  • leadership,  strategic planning

    Slaying Dragons

    Leaders are constantly grappling with one challenge or another. Today it is a personnel issue; tomorrow a budget crisis; next week a government decision that will affect our business. Leaders must regularly and routinely slay such dragons or face the consequences. In a way, slaying dragons is invigorating. The adrenaline flows and the creativity ramps up. You become the hero of the moment. How rewarding! But. Sometimes the dragons we must slay are not dragons at all. They're mice. That's right, those tiny little creatures that live among us. Mice - not dragons - are really our largest threat over the long run. My personal experience with a mouse bears…

  • board development,  governance

    The Five Attributes of High Performing Boards

    What are organizations looking for from their board members? Sometimes, even the CEO doesn't really know what to do with their board members once they have them. A High Impact Board knows that its job is to determine the WHY of the organization and leave the HOW  to the staff. They do that by setting policy and then holding staff accountable for performance. In my experience managing the board function for three different organizations and serving on the boards of another dozen nonprofits, I have found that there are five key attributes that must exist if you want a high-functioning board. There must be a Commitment to the Mission, so…

  • burnout,  culture,  mission,  mission fatigue

    Help your Team Overcome Burnout

    When I spoke at at a recent national conference on the topic of Mission Fatigue, I was surprised by the overwhelming response. Attendees were obviously experiencing some significant work-related stress, so the topic resonated with them. Quite simply, they needed someone to validate their feelings. One attendee even emailed me a few weeks after the session, "It was very beneficial to me to know that I am not alone in my feelings of being overwhelmed . . ." Just like my correspondent, being overwhelmed is common for workers in the nonprofit space. After all, the work is of vital importance and the need is great. That makes us take that…

  • burnout,  culture,  mission,  mission fatigue,  purpose

    Are You Experiencing Mission Fatigue?

    I was recently asked to give a presentation for the employees from various nonprofit organizations in the region on the topic of Mission Fatigue. My first thought was, “I don’t know anything about this topic! Why me?” But because I have this issue with saying no, I responded with an enthusiastic “Yes, I would be happy to.” As I thought more about the topic and began working on my presentation, I realized what an important issue this is for nonprofit workers. And the more I researched, the more I realized that indeed, I do have something important to say on the topic. The business world calls it burnout. The medical…

  • decision-making,  executive successions,  strategy,  transitions

    The top ten reasons you may need a consultant

    All leaders - nonprofit or business, government or education - need to  constantly improve their own skills to improve their organization's outcomes.  All too often, leaders think they can do it all on their own. Just like a lawyer shouldn’t represent himself in court, leaders need to admit they don't know everything about managing people, processes, boards, or finances. To take your organization and its people to the next level it is often a wise decision to call in a Management Consultant. Here are the top ten reasons to hire a consultant. You need expertise you do not have within your organization. IT consulting is a perfect example of this.…

Scroll Up