In this last post of the year we gather up some great resources to help you and your organization forge goals and plans for the new year. We wish you all a peaceful and warm holiday season and we look forward to working with you in 2013.
Growing New Types of Teams
In this article, and new book, on Teaming in the 21st Century, the author makes several interesting points about teams and accountability. The nature of teams and teamwork in changing and requires a more fluid approach. “"We've seen fewer stable, well-designed, well-composed teams, simply because of the nature of the work, which is more uncertain and dynamic than before. As a means for getting the work done, we've got to focus on the interpersonal processes and dynamics that occur among people working together for shorter durations.". Because of this, “people have to get good at teaming"—reaching out, getting up to speed, establishing quickly who they are and what they bring, and trying to make progress without a blueprint. The skill set involves interpersonal awareness, skillful inquiry, and an ability to teach others what you know.”
Leaders of team must make sure that people involved in collaboration understand the importance of interdependency and communication. Leaders must also be careful not to penalize the well-intentioned failure of the group. However, accountability must be present for the team to perform, “But not coming down hard doesn't mean coming down soft. "Psychological safety is not about being nice; it's not about letting people off easy and being comfortable. It's about the courage to be direct and holding high expectations of each other, understanding that uncertainty and risk are part of the work, as is the occasional failure. A leader's challenge is to set a climate where psychological safety, accountability, and pressure to do the best possible work exist together.”
Growing Leaders and Managers
Today’s mailbox brought this great summation from the American Management Association of how we move through the roles of Doer, Manager, and Leader in our Career (and sometimes by the hour). I think not recognizing these changing roles gets us in the most trouble. I’d suggest you read the article, but here are a few highlights:
Doers are the PRODUCERS of work. Managers create a positive ENVIRONMENT. Managers exist in a political, competitive universe that is concerned with relationships as much as the work. Leaders invent the FUTURE. Leaders often find themselves alone, going out ahead of the crowd to see what’s coming, to greet the new. Doers coordinate. Managers collaborate. Leaders originate. Once you get the distinction between the three roles it is important to understand what’s required from each role.
“One: You need to know which cycle you’re in, for you can experience them all throughout your career. Two: All day long, in any one position, you may need to follow, then manage people and projects, and, more rarely, lead. One moment we dig in and work . . . the follower. The next, we direct and motivate .. . the manager. Sometimes we initiate and persuade . . . the leader. Three: No one is a leader all the time. Trying to spend all your time in the leader mode is not much better than missing it altogether. Leadership is not a full-time role for anyone—not even CEOs or presidents. A leader initiates and then propels change forward. Change has an expiration date. No one wants to live in such flux, and no one wants the burden of leading all the time; leaders are happy to revert to managing when they can. Though there are always overlapping duties, each cycle determines what others expect of you and how they rate you.”
While we are on the topic of Management, check out this article Lessons from a Reluctant Manager from Fortune. Where a 20-something provides some excellent lessons she’s learned, the hard way, about being a manager
A new study from the Center for Creative leadership, Emerging Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations: Myths, Meaning and Motivations, tackles a topic near and dear to me. “The demands of the nonprofit sector have not been matched by investment in leadership talent. Equipping people to lead through change and challenge has been largely overlooked. Nonprofits rarely have the structures or funding for providing development opportunities for employees. Long-established leaders often hold tightly to their roles, and most funders don't place a high priority on building a leadership pipeline.” Because of this, "The sector is beginning to see the implications of this neglect," says Karen Dyer, director of CCL's Education and Nonprofit sector. "We have a capacity gap that will require significant investments and new approaches to attract, keep and grow effective, creative nonprofit leaders." The study provides suggestions for leaders and funders on how to close the gap.
And from the Nonprofit Quarterly we get this article: Beyond Financial Oversight: Expanding the Board’s Role in the Pursuit of Sustainability. The article includes some key questions to help your board move from the role of oversight to dealing with your financial sustainability. This is a must read for Executive Directors, Board Chairs and all Board members.
Faith In Humanity
So much heartbreaking news in the last few weeks has left me sad and helpless; fearful that there is so little I can do to tackle such huge issues as gun control, mental illness, poverty, and social justice. And then I viewed this (warning get out your tissue box): 26 Moments That Restored Our Faith In Humanity This Year.
Peace to all of you.
I am excited to announce the next phase of Bonner Consulting’s growth with a renewed focus on serving the nonprofit community. Read more below about our formula for Nonprofit Sustainability, join me in welcoming Kate Sphar to the team, and learn about how together we plan to fill the void in the Nonprofit Consulting market left by the closing of Dewey & Kaye.
Leslie Bonner & Kate Sphar Collaborate to Provide Nonprofit Consulting Services
The landscape of consulting for nonprofits in our region is changing. As you may be aware, Dewey & Kaye (now ParenteBeard) will no longer be providing
consulting services as of the end of the year. We extend congratulations to Kate Dewey on her new role as President of the Forbes Funds.
We are pleased to announce that as veteran consultants, and DK alumni, we are joining forces to provide our Nonprofit Community with customer-centered services that grow and sustain individual organizations and the sector as whole.
We share skills in nonprofit planning and assessment and an understanding of the challenges faced by nonprofits of all sizes and in all sectors. Leslie’s experience in Nonprofit Organizational, Leadership and Board development is complemented by Kate’s strong knowledge of Nonprofit Sustainability (financial health, business planning and management, collaborations and alliances). Together we will bring a strategic perspective, an interdisciplinary approach, and a combined 40 years of experience working with over 300 nonprofit organizations. And, as needed, we will identify other highly qualified individuals with complementary expertise to add to our Nonprofit Consulting Team.
Nonprofit Sustainability and the Iron Triangle
We believe that in order for a nonprofit to be sustainable a balance must be struck between the organization's mission/programs, the human capacity or talent, and the financial assets that are available. As one aspect grows, or shrinks, so should the others. The graphic below illustrates this concept. Note the triangle is made of iron, not rubber. This would prevent what many nonprofits try to do – stretch their limited people and financial assets to meet expanding mission or programs. To do this stretching thing over the long term is not sustainable. It can produce the same result as overstretching rubber band – a complete and sometimes painful break.
* The Iron Triangle is adapted from the Nonprofit Finance Fund, Linking Mission and Money
Our Consulting Services to Grow and Sustain Nonprofits
Just as the Sustainability Triangle illustrates, our nonprofit services fall into three similar groupings. Our strategic plans and assessments also focus in these three areas.
Click here to learn more about the services we provide, our individual backgrounds, and here to view resources and tools. If you have an interest in learning more about our services, please contact us today. We appreciate your referrals as well as your feedback, suggestions, and support.
Leslie Bonner Kate Sphar