Monday, February 23, 2015
*How do we cut costs?
*How can we raise more money?
*Who should we hire (or let go)?
These are likely candidates to keep you awake at night. But if you are a senior leader for a nonprofit then I am going to add another one to your list. I know. You are welcome.
I’m not encouraging more sleepless nights, but I am encouraging you to work on something unless you are sure you have it handled. I am suggesting that, based on research*, there is a high likelihood that your Board members use different criteria to judge your nonprofit’s performance.
Try this test. Circulate the following question to your senior staff:
“What criteria should we use to determine the extent to which we are accomplishing our mission? What results, outcomes, and specific evidence should we look at to make this determination?”
See what you come up with. Based on research I did years ago*, which has been replicated since and confirmed through my consulting work, you will probably get responses all over the board. This is not good. Without agreed upon performance metrics, all you have to rely on are the varied opinions of those on your team. You are not unlike a football team on which everyone has their opinion on where the goal line is. This makes it very difficult to coordinate action, set priorities, and make strategic decisions.
And it gets worse. If you do the same exercise with your Board then I predict even more variance in their responses. Why is this a problem? If you think you have had a successful year and they are looking at different criteria than you are, then it could be an unwelcome surprise.
My advice? Don’t lose sleep over this! Get proactive and start the conversation with your staff and Board about this soon. This is way better than you being surprised at a future Board meeting. And that would end up costing you a lot of sleepless nights in the future.
*If you want to check out the research on this, see the Resources section of my web site at this link.
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.
Posted by Dr. Rob Sheehan at 6:49 PM
Monday, February 9, 2015
You know that changes must be made, but the amount of effort that will be required and the size of the change seems almost overwhelming. This is often the case with important changes.
But remember the old adage – “the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.”
I suggest identifying a “chunk” of change that you are willing to go after during an upcoming three – four month time period. What one big thing can you get done that will set you off in the right direction in making the even bigger changes that are necessary? Focus on a three – four month period so you can make the “chunk of change” a high priority for a manageable amount of time.
Once you have your idea for that “chunk of change,” then turn it into a SMART goal. Make sure that it is Specific and Measureable, so you can monitor your progress. Make sure it is Relevant to your larger vision for your organization, and that it is Time-bound with a specific date. Then finally, you need to pick an “A” to complete your SMART goal.
Do you want your SMART goal for your change to be Attainable or Aggressive or Almost Impossible? I always encourage people to Stretch, so I will recommend a Big goal. But you can read more about the trade-offs of these different SMART formulas in this brief article, The Power of Goals.
Don’t let the size of the change freeze you. Go after that Big SMART Chunk of Change in the next few months and you will be making even more of a Mission Impact.
Posted by Dr. Rob Sheehan at 1:11 PM