• 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…

  • culture,  leadership,  team building

    Teamwork: The Secret Sauce

    The value of solid teams – and teamwork – cannot be overstated. As proof, I point you to the daring rescue of the Thai soccer team and their coach from a flooded cave. It took the effort, wisdom, and planning of over 1,000 volunteers working through the problem, devising a plan, teaching the kids, and tending to the complicated logistics of the seemingly impossible rescue effort. We celebrate the divers and the medical professionals – and should. But even the volunteers feeding the rescuers or driving the shuttles back and forth to the site were vital members of the team that brought these kids to safety. During my career, I have…

  • board development,  executive successions,  strategy,  succession,  transitions

    Organizations at a Crossroads

    When an organization is facing a leadership change, it is at a crossroads. Down one path is a successful future. Down the other dangers lurk. An organization at this juncture can either excel as the staff and board  embrace change and work toward a bright new future or falter when the new leader struggles to get his or her stride. As nonprofit boards respond to a leadership change, they need time to find the right candidate. The problem is, most nonprofit boards are composed of successful - and busy - volunteers who do not have the time the organization truly needs for this succession process. Staff need time to grieve and…

Scroll Up