Clarifying expectations – when specifics matter

Misaligned expectations are often an underlying cause of error, tension, and conflict. This is true for nonprofit organisations as much as for any business entity (and family and friendship groups for that matter). When we expect one thing, and something else happens instead, many of us experience emotional responses ranging from delight and surprise, through… Continue reading Clarifying expectations – when specifics matter

Organisational ‘Archy’-tecture

We have referenced ‘enterprise architecture‘ previously when describing the system ‘layers’ which make up a nonprofit’s ‘system of systems’. The whimsical title of this post seeks to broaden the lens to consider the relationship between organisational structure and functions (including products and services). The term ‘architecture‘ shares linguistic roots with numerous terms used to describe… Continue reading Organisational ‘Archy’-tecture

Hypothetically – what if …?

‘What if …?’ – a key strategy and risk question We use hypothetical scenarios when considering the impact of driving forces and trends in our non-profit operating environment. Scenario planning is a systematic tool for thinking creatively about possible complex and uncertain futures (Wilson et al, 2000). Different types or styles of scenario can be… Continue reading Hypothetically – what if …?

Differentiation and Integration in your Deliberations

Differentiation (analysis) and integration (synthesis) are the two main thinking modes we use in all situations where deliberation is involved. Non-profit leaders who wish to improve their deliberative processes may benefit from reflection on how effectively they are using both modes. Whether we are differentiating facts from fiction, signal from noise, salient from irrelevant, logical… Continue reading Differentiation and Integration in your Deliberations

“It was RESOLVED …”

Why are board decisions often called resolutions? There are three main senses in which a matter being considered by a board is resolved. These relate to focus, agreement and intention. Focus We adjust the focus of an optical instrument, camera lens, microscope, spectacles, or a telescope to render visible objects and spaces distinguishable. The power… Continue reading “It was RESOLVED …”

Coming to our (shared) ‘sensus’

When making decisions or negotiating agreements, it is always helpful to use shared meanings for the terms and concepts we employ. In the interests of promoting that outcome, this etymological interlude* is offered (with considerable assistance from Etymonline). Gifted with sense We take for granted that we are all sensate beings, capable of sensation. Etymonline… Continue reading Coming to our (shared) ‘sensus’

Making sense

Decision-making and sense-making While much of our focus is on problem-solving and decision-making when we reflect on non-profit governance, without effective sense-making, boards will be likely to make poor decisions. Good decision-making could therefore be considered somewhat dependent on good sense-making. Individual or personal sensemaking When we engage in sense-making we are “structuring the unknown”… Continue reading Making sense

‘Dirty’ data in – ‘Dirty’ decisions out

Directors and managers in the non-profit and for-purpose sectors generally like to think of themselves as rational (evidence-based) decision-makers. As in most fields however, decision quality is often compromised due to unconscious (cognitive) biases, and other factors. Evidence and decision quality Data quality is a key determinant of evidence quality. In turn, evidence quality is… Continue reading ‘Dirty’ data in – ‘Dirty’ decisions out

The argument ‘rabbit hole’: debate, discussion, or dialogue

This particular excursion down the rabbit hole started aimlessly enough, browsing a table of new releases on the way out the door of the (increasingly rare) bookstore. Good arguments Bo Seo’s new book Good Arguments: What the art of debating can teach us about listening better and disagreeing well caught my eye. Perhaps my high… Continue reading The argument ‘rabbit hole’: debate, discussion, or dialogue

Strategic Causality – Part 2

When ‘strategic causality’ was introduced in an earlier post, it was described as “how causes lead to effects“. Of course, all reflections on strategic planning and decision-making have that recurring theme. Hence, my posts on strategic archery, evaluation, and reflective governance can be seen as background reading for this post (see links below). Dependencies and… Continue reading Strategic Causality – Part 2