5 Challenges for the Nonprofit World in 2012

From the Chronicle for Philanthropy:

“The still-troubled economy will loom large over charities in the coming year, but simply keeping the lights on won’t be the only problem organizations will face. All sorts of nonprofits, including deep-pocketed grant makers, are likely to struggle with the following issues and their fallout.”

Click here to read full post

The Nonprofit Paradox – Why organizations are so often plagued by the very ills they aim to cure

From the SSIR: A very compelling examination of this phenomenon by David La Piana:

“As a consultant, I began to think of the nonprofit paradox as the sector’s analog to the old adage about the shoemaker whose children go barefoot. I have found this dynamic in every corner of the sector, and I have made looking for it a standard part of our firm’s diagnostic process. In fact, the nonprofit paradox is so common that when I don’t find it, I am surprised. Because I know of no research on this dynamic, I can only hypothesize where it comes from. At the same time, I will suggest ways that nonprofits can deal with their own paradoxes.”

click here for article 3 pgs in pdf

Organizational Transformation

“Frequently, entrenched organizations need a crisis to begin transforming. For example, an economic downturn may unnerve leadership enough to consider tangible innovation. Before the crisis; evaluation, improvement and refocusing on a current trajectory are dubbed as innovation.

However, during a crisis, changing trajectory becomes possible.

Rather than waiting for a crisis try creating a transformational organization, an organization that doesn’t need pain to change.”

Click here for full post

How to avoid a “vulture culture”

From Management-Issues:

“Do you work in an organisation that seems to feed on itself, picking over the bones of failure and blaming everyone else, rather than itself? Do you sometimes find yourself wondering what it would be like to work freely without the fear of a hungry hoover hovering above, waiting for you to mess up? Or is your company so paralysed by indecision because no-one wants to stand up and raise their head above the parapet?

 If any of these sound familiar, you might be in the grip of a Vulture Culture.  Vulture Cultures are particularly damaging because the enemy is within, and not always easy to pinpoint.”

Click here for full post

Change Management: Strategies to Help Nonprofit Leaders Make the most of Uncertain Times

Resource from TCC Group in the US:

TCC Group, a management consulting firm that works with nonprofits, foundations, and corporate community involvement programs, has watched nonprofit organizations engage in change processes for nearly 30 years. In that time, we have learned some things about organizational change and how to lead a successful change process.

In this article, we look at change primarily through the lens of leadership—both staff and board. We offer insights we have learned and suggest ways in which nonprofit leaders can maximize their chances of ushering a successful change process through their organization.”

Click here to access article - 12 pages in pdf


When Nonprofit Executive Directors Disappear

From the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

“Executive director firings (to call them what they are) are inherently difficult. They are painful episodes fraught with emotion and peril. They represent a moment of legal jeopardy for the board and the organization, which heightens everyone’s anxiety. And aside from legal counsel, not much help is available for boards. There’s a considerable body of literature about how boards can do a good job hiring an executive director but hardly anything about how to fire one.”

Click here to read full post

Video Inspiration: Bruce MacDonald CEO of BBBS Canada

“On June 23, 2010 SiG@Waterloo invited Bruce MacDonald to come speak to a crowd gathered at the Canadian Clay and Glass Museum in Waterloo, Ontario.

Bruce is the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada and spoke about the organization’s new approach in applying systems thinking to examine how a nationally federated organization can evolve into one that is more nimble and responsive to the needs of its members. More fundamentally, it is looking at how innovative approaches to mentoring can be created within a system that has been functioning for many years.

Bruce’s presentation focused on the organization’s journey to evolve and change, the signposts along the way and the questions that are being asked.

Bruce’s talk is part of SiG@Waterloo’s “Innovators in Action” Speaker Series which explores the application of social innovation to a number of specific sectors and issues.”

Click here to access video of presentation (approx 50 mins)

Click here to access video of panel discussion that followed

Turnarounds – What can nonprofits learn from private sector?

There is little agreement on what strategies lead to a successful turnaround in the private sector. Case studies of turnarounds in nonprofit organizations, however, suggest that leadership, building an appropriate team, and mobilizing and garnering support from stakeholders are key elements of a successful strategic approach.

A review of the literature on reinvention and capacity building in nonprofits suggests that leaders should not adopt private-sector solutions indiscriminately, without taking into account the strong value-based culture and commitment of nonprofit staff and volunteers.

The change management strategies that seem to work best are those which respect nonprofits’ organizational and sectoral culture, while mobilizing resources and linking stakeholder support to the vision and mission at the heart of every nonprofit enterprise. These participatory strategies are also more likely to build capacity – a major challenge throughout the nonprofit sector. Finally this review identifies several questions, including nonprofit crises, retrenchments and specialist roles, which merit further investigation.”

Click here to access study – 35 pages in pdf

Does Transformational Leadership Make a Difference?

“The name “transformational leadership” is sometimes meant to denote the transformation of team members from a focus on individual goals to a commitment to the goals of the organization. Another way of looking at it is the transformation that takes place in an organization as its members become more committed, motivated, and aligned with the vision and values of the organization. If one were to try and provide a bottom line objective of transformational leadership, it might be referred to as a leader’s efforts to align his or her goals, and the goals of team members, with the strategic goals of the organization.

This description comes after distilling the theory of transformational leadership, into an approach to leadership (replete with specific leader behaviors), and demonstrating the connection with these behaviors and business outcomes.  It has taken about 35 years to arrive at this place.”

Read full post here

The Eight Steps Of Transforming Your Organization

“From John P. Kotter, the premiere thought leader on change management, comes “Eight Steps to Transform Your Organization“:

  1. Establish a Sense of Urgency
    - Examine market and competitive realities
    - Identify and discuss crises, potential crises, or major opportunities
  2. Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition
    - Assemble a group with enough power to lead the change effort
    - Encourage the group to work as a team
  3. Create a Vision
    - Create a vision to help direct the change effort
    - Develop strategies for achieving that vision “

Click here for the other steps


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