Services are always custom-tailored to your specific needs and may include some combination of the following:
Onboarding for Success
All too often the onboarding of a new staff leader resembles an old-school swim lesson: throw them in the deep end and hope they’ll figure it out before they drown. It doesn’t have to be that way. I provide individualized training, counseling and coaching so that your new leader can quickly and securely settle into their new role with a minimum of pain and suffering. ↑
Nonprofit leaders rarely come from a management background; more often they are subject matter experts, charismatic evangelists and organizers or skillful fundraisers. But when management skills are weak, leaders cannot effectively leverage organizational resources and nonprofits fail to reach their potential.
Too often, management training means getting out of the office for a few days, attending a fantastic seminar, listening to a lot of great ideas, and leaving with the resolve to implement them back in your organizations. If you've ever had this experience, you know what happens next. Back in the fray, you don't have the time to institute the changes you wanted to or the support you would need to overcome the inevitable obstacles.
I come to you and provide a set of group trainings and individual coaching sessions over a period of weeks. The trainings are designed to provide teams a common approach to management challenges and the capacity to support each other as they work to change the way your organization operates. The coaching is usually where the real change takes place as managers are able to candidly reflect on their own challenges and then apply what they've learned to their everyday work interactions. ↑
Why is change so hard? Fear of the unknown, comfort with the status quo, lack of skills to bring it about are the obvious culprits. Most change processes make a point of addressing these issues. But too often, we fail to confront the fact that real change almost always has winners and losers. Those standing in the way of change often have very good reasons for doing so. Their sense of loss, along with the inevitable missteps in implementation can easily undermine an entire change initiative. If this sounds familiar, or if you're struggling with other aspects of the change process, we should talk. ↑
Alignment is a simple concept with profound ramifications for organizational success. But while it's easy to nod along at the idea that the Board of Directors and senior staff leaders should be on the same page, getting there can be tough. The difficulties may lie in complex power relationships, different levels of knowledge about the organization and the choices it faces, or simply in the clash of strong personalities. Whatever the case, outside support can help. We will establish a shared vision, a common set of expectations and a collective appreciation of risks. In the process, we will embrace conflict and apply creative approaches to addressing it. ↑
A change in senior leadership, planned or not, will inevitably unearth issues that should be addressed prior to the hiring of a new leader. The longer the tenure of a departing leader, the more likely your organization has molded itself around that person's particular strengths and weaknesses. The transition provides an opportunity to identify where this molding has resulted in dysfunction and to take appropriate actions to address prior to the selection and arrival of a new leader. I can also provide support for interim leadership, providing a level of guidance that Board leaders may not have the time or expertise to offer. Finally, I can support the on-boarding of your new leader so they can get off to an efficient and effective start. ↑
Crises are my comfort zone. A crisis (positive or negative) will often stretch staff, Board and systems beyond their capacities and exacerbate existing problems. I will help you identify and assess options and frame decision points. Together we will work to minimize the risks and limit the fallout while identifying and promoting the opportunities that inevitably arise. ↑
Evaluations of Senior Staff
The single most important factor in improving nonprofit impact is the performance of your single most important staff person–your Executive Director. And the best way to improve ED performance is by providing a performance evaluation, designed both to recognize accomplishments and to identify areas of potential improvement. Most Boards face significant constraints in providing high quality evaluations, and many fail to provide any evaluations at all. I can help. My evaluations address both accountability and learning opportunities, but they are strongly weighted towards the latter. Along with focusing on a limited number of growth areas, I will help you design a realistic roadmap to accomplishing that growth. Probably the single best thing you can do for your ED and your organization. ↑
Too often, I find that people are trying to solve the wrong problem. Addressing the right problem–or more often, set of problems–is all about understanding deeply where you are and where you want to be. Your starting point is a clear-eyed, comprehensive understanding of your circumstances. Along with a level of detachment, I bring perspectives and experience that you, your Board and your leadership team simply may not have. I can help you evaluate your circumstances and explore options so that you are equipped to make the best decisions. Depending on your needs, this may include a review of the external environment, a strategic financial analysis, a review of staff capacities, infrastructure, policies and procedures or other assessments. ↑