Author Archive

Turning lemons into lemon sorbet with interim leadership

By on April 02, 2014 under Leadership


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I sat in the office of a board chair this week discussing her parting Executive Director, she shared her frustration that the already-identified successor couldn’t start for another 6 months. In our conversation, I shared my perspective that this was actually a great opportunity for the organization to make ultimate use of an Interim Executive Director.

At Greenlights, we embrace the Prepare-Pivot-Thrive framework for executive transitions. This guides an organization in clarifying its trajectory before bringing a new leader on board and highlights the importance of change management between the outgoing and incoming executive as a time for the organization to both “detox” from the prior leader and set the new leader up for success. (continue reading…)

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An essential ingredient for strategic planning success

By on February 18, 2014 under Leadership, Strategy & Planning

According to Socrates, an unexamined life is not worth living. According to nonprofit best practices, an unexamined mission is not worth planning (Hmmm…writing it in parallel makes that message too awkward.) What I mean is, a thorough examination of your mission, services, and structure is an essential element of a nonprofit strategic planning process. In fact, we think that taking time to take stock and learn about your work and how you are perceived is so important, that we won’t do a strategic planning project without it.

When I read “Secret Ingredient for Success” in the New York Times a few weeks ago, I took satisfaction in the awareness that this self-awareness isn’t just for nonprofits. The authors write: (continue reading…)

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Commit to your organization’s culture in 2014

By on January 09, 2014 under Change Management, Culture, Human Resources

Losing weight, quitting smoking, and being a better spouse/child/parent are typical New Year’s resolutions for your personal life, but have you stopped to make some commitments to your professional life and organization for 2014 yet?

In a recent interview with Dan McGinn at the Harvard Business Review, Adam Bryant observed “culture drives results.” Why should we care what Adam Bryant says? Because he writes The Corner Office for the New York Times based on his interviews with chief executives for about leadership and management. And because his newest book, Quick and Nimble, links innovation with high-performing organizational cultures.

At Greenlights, we agree. Our organizational core values are integrated into our hiring, orientation, and evaluation processes, and we live them intentionally throughout the year. (continue reading…)

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‘Tis the season for performance evaluations. Here are 5 things to consider before you deck the employees.

By on December 06, 2013 under Change Management, Culture, Human Resources

Cartoon by Randy Glasbergen

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Services have been delivered. Program metrics are being tallied. The board is getting ready to approve the 2014 budget. Time for employees and supervisors to share just how naughty and nice they’ve been.

As you fill in your self-evaluation, 360, and employee assessments to prepare for these reviews, think about how you can make the experience (even of delivering difficult feedback) a positive one. (continue reading…)

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Are you making it easy to be a board member?

By on September 19, 2013 under Board Development

Another installment of Greenlights’ video series on board development is now live in the 501(c)ommunity as an exclusive feature for our members, and I’m excited that I get to preview an important take-away here for our blog readers. This segment tackles the topic of board engagement and orientation, and one of my favorite recommendations is to remove obstacles to board member involvement:

The easier we can make it for board members to get involved, the more likely they will get involved, and the greater impact they will have for the organization. (continue reading…)

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