Monday, July 20, 2015

How to Get Your Board to Fundraise

In her excellent book, Engaging Your Board in Fundraising, Kathy Hedge first points out six significant mistakes nonprofits make when they attempt to get volunteers engaged in fundraising.  She developed this list through interviews with nearly 50 nonprofit leaders from across the country:

*We forget that board members are volunteers.  They are busy and don’t live the day-to-day reality of the nonprofit like staff do.

*We are waiting for board members to mobilize themselves and take initiative around fundraising.  We don’t realize that they are waiting for staff to lead so they can assist.

*We don’t set clear expectations about fundraising with individuals before they join the Board.  We are reluctant or vague about it.

*We start the conversation about fundraising at the wrong place and at the wrong time.  Rather than jumping right into a fundraising conversation, we need to start with need and mission.

*We use a “one-size-fits-all” approach.  We need to realize that different Board members will engage differently.

*We don’t know how to “manage up.”  The inverse power relationship of a Board member who is of higher authority can be tricky when staff are trying to get them to do things.

In six easy to read chapters, Kathy explains how we can overcome these mistakes and empower our Boards to fundraise effectively.  My favorite is Chapter Two, “Connect to Mission.”  This includes ideas like making sure to include “mission moments” at Board meetings – a story of mission accomplishment or example of an impact you have made.  Another great tip – hold some meetings at a location where you are carrying out your mission to make your impact real.

There are lots of other great ideas in the book and I highly recommend it.  It takes focused work, but you can get your Board members to fundraise and further leverage their Mission Impact.


For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at www.SheehanNonprofitConsulting.com   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Producing Team Results for Mission Impact

This is the final installment of a five part series on high performance teamwork, based on the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.  The five major dysfunctions that Lencioni has identified, which is backed up by research are:

*Absence of Trust
*Fear of Conflict
*Lack of Commitment
*Avoidance of Accountability
*Inattention to Results

The first four steps of building a high performing team are vital, but so many teams falter with Inattention to Results.  The key reason is connected to the fourth dysfunction – Avoidance of Accountability.  Once people are convinced (or told) that they need to be accountable, most will want to be accountable only for activities, not results.

Here is how to fix this dysfunction: insist that everyone on your team set Outcome-Based, SMART Goals.

Outcome-Based.  Goals should be set in a way that they describe the important result that you want to produce – the outcome, not the activities you hope will produce the result.  Once outcome-based goals are established, then you can set activity goals that are connected to them.  To convert activity goals into outcome goals, ask yourself “to what end” are we doing these activities.

SMART Goals.  You can read more extensively about this in my brief article, The Power of Goals, but goals need to be Specific & Measurable, otherwise you don’t really know if you are making progress.  They need to be Relevant to the most important aspects of the Mission.  And they need to be Time-Bound – there must be a date attached to the goal.

All you need now is the right “A” to spell SMART.  Some people like “Attainable” goals so they can assure themselves of success.  Others like to push themselves and set “Aggressive” goals.  And I like to encourage people to set “Almost Impossible” goals which help produce breakthroughs in performance.  Any of the “As” can work – they just need to fit your situation.  Again, I encourage you to read more about these options in The Power of Goals article.

Effective teamwork is vital for the success of any organization.  By applying these five aspects of high performance teamwork, you can tap into the talents of your team and lead it to ever higher levels of Mission Impact.


For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at www.SheehanNonprofitConsulting.com   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

Monday, June 15, 2015

No Accountability, No Performance

This is the fourth of a five part series on high performance teamwork, based on the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.  The five major dysfunctions that Lencioni has identified, which is backed up by the research are:

*Absence of Trust
*Fear of Conflict
*Lack of Commitment
*Avoidance of Accountability
*Inattention to Results

With trust, constructive conflict, and commitment a team is ready to soar.  But two more elements are required and today we are focusing on accountability.

Holding people accountable is a key leadership responsibility.  It is not complicated, but takes organization and persistence.

First, before ever adjourning a meeting, make sure that everyone on the team is clear on what they are accountable for and by when the task is should be completed.

Next, make sure you record the tasks and due dates.

Third, follow-up with people when they miss deadlines.

Finally, you need consequences – especially for chronic cases of missing deadlines.

Simple, right?  Then why do so many leaders mess this up!?!

I think it is because it can be uncomfortable to hold someone accountable, but leaders often underestimate the damage done when you let people avoid accountability. 

Allowing people to avoid accountability breeds resentment in a team.  High performers want to be on a team where everyone is committed to excellence.  You will quickly lose your best people if they see that others are not held accountable.  And it will lead to mediocrity among those left behind.

So, be a leader and hold people accountable.  It will set a standard of excellence for everyone to live up to and allow the team to make even more of a Mission Impact.


For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at www.SheehanNonprofitConsulting.com   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Building Commitment to Your Team

This is the third of a five part series on high performance teamwork, based on the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.  The five major dysfunctions that Lencioni has identified, which is backed up by the research are:

*Absence of Trust
*Fear of Conflict
*Lack of Commitment
*Avoidance of Accountability
*Inattention to Results

Establishing trust and creating a culture where constructive conflict is valued were the topics of the first two installments of this series.  Once you have that, you can really go places as a team.  However, a lack of commitment from even one person can be a cancer that spreads throughout a team.  Here are some things you can do to build commitment:

*Hire for mission commitment.  Make sure that people are excited about your purpose.  FYI – this is not just a “nonprofit” thing.  I recently heard the CEOs of both Pepsi and Deloitte discuss the importance of purpose during their visits with us at the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

*Role model your mission commitment and acknowledge it in others.  Be a leader!

*Keep the vision for the future alive.  Remind people where you are going!  You cannot remind people often enough of the future you are creating together.

*Make sure that every person understands their role in helping to accomplish the mission and vision.  They need to understand “why am I here?”

Commitment to mission within a team that trusts one another and can engage in constructive conflict put you on a great path.  Stay tuned for tips on overcoming the final two dysfunctions so you can build a team that makes a breakthrough Mission Impact.


For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at www.SheehanNonprofitConsulting.com   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Encourage Constructive Conflict

This is the second of a five part series on high performance teamwork, based on the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.  The five major dysfunctions that Lencioni has identified, which is backed up by the research are:

*Absence of Trust
*Fear of Conflict
*Lack of Commitment
*Avoidance of Accountability
*Inattention to Results

Fear of Conflict cannot be overcome without trust – so check out the prior blog here if you missed that.

Once you have a team that trusts one another, then leaders need to role model what constructive conflict looks like.  All too often, people are conflict avoidant.  Conflict does not have to be nasty and, in fact, constructive conflict makes a team stronger. 

When a team member makes a suggestion, many people will hesitate to say something even if they think it is a bad idea.  But high performing teams know that they will only make the optimal choices if they get many ideas on the table and evaluate all of them.  So, as a leader who wants to role model constructive conflict you can say things like:

“Thanks for your idea, Rob.  What do the rest of you think?  Let’s brainstorm at least five different possibilities before we make any decisions.”

Another simple technique is to break your team into two or three sub-groups and have them brainstorm ideas to bring back to the full team.  I often do this in strategic planning sessions to encourage divergent thinking.  You can also take care to carefully assign people to subgroups who may have differing opinions.

If you are going to role model constructive conflict it is vital that you react appropriately when someone suggests an alternative to your latest brilliant idea.  If you can do that and encourage others to do the same, then you are on your way to becoming a high performing team that makes an exceptional Mission Impact.


For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at www.SheehanNonprofitConsulting.com   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.