Double-edged swords and paradoxical choices

‘Either/or’ choices Most board deliberations and policy analyses are conducted using an ‘either/or’ approach. A set of (usually three or four) options is devised, from which one is to be favoured over others. You can have the answer in one of the red, blue, or green boxes – but you can’t have two or more… Continue reading Double-edged swords and paradoxical choices

Was it something I said? Dialogue style choices

At the risk of stating the obvious, our choice of words, tone, pitch, and jargon influences others’ perception of, and receptivity to, our message. Of course, when we have been tactless (often inadvertently), or worse, have offended the other party, everything we say to them subsequently is coloured by their associating us with a ‘negative’… Continue reading Was it something I said? Dialogue style choices

A spectrum of listening intentions

Leaders who listen – Part 2 One of my most profound professional development experiences involved being introduced to active listening techniques many years ago. As so many had discovered before me, and since, ed psych courses during teacher training offered meagre preparation for encounters with the vast range of mental and emotional states adolescent students… Continue reading A spectrum of listening intentions

Being present: listening with your eyes

Leaders who listen – Part 1 I recall a disconcerting meeting with a Government Minister some years ago. It wasn’t because he rushed off to other (more important) business before we had the opportunity to advocate for our cause. Rather, it was because he spent most of our allotted time head down, writing notes on… Continue reading Being present: listening with your eyes

The Art of the Doable: Feasible, Pragmatic, and Capable

When making decisions about new projects or initiatives, many considerations are involved. Where the project or initiative is strategically significant, say due to the scale of resources required to deliver it, questions of feasibility will be involved. Decisions described as ‘pragmatic’ may, on the one hand, be sensible in the circumstances. Alternatively, in the pejorative… Continue reading The Art of the Doable: Feasible, Pragmatic, and Capable

The Rule of 3 in your NFP

People find it easiest to remember three things: Three is the smallest number of elements necessary to form a pattern Three elements are more memorable than say, two or four We like to have a choice, but we get confused when we have too many options A selection of memorable patterns formed using three elements… Continue reading The Rule of 3 in your NFP

Discourse (Rhetoric) at work

Having referred to message, narrative, and political frames in my last post, the theme of good and bad communication (rhetoric) beckoned for this reflection. Institutional Rhetoric How we characterise our nonprofit organisation and our relationship to it is evident in the language we use in our internal communications, and our representation of the entity to… Continue reading Discourse (Rhetoric) at work

Frames, Framing Effects, & Reframing

‘Frames’ appear in many forms in our lives every day. We use the noun ‘frame’ to describe hard things like wood or steel wall constructions, and soft things like data and concept structures. Amongst other meanings, we use the verb ‘(to) frame’ to mean choosing our words carefully, and planning or organising ideas and methods.… Continue reading Frames, Framing Effects, & Reframing

X marks the spot for reflexive practice

Reflective and Reflexive Practice According to Plato, Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living” as he faced trial for alleged “impiety and corrupting youth”. Subsequently used to promote the virtues of philosophy, the quote may also be seen as a precursor to more recent encouragements for leaders and professionals to engage in reflective… Continue reading X marks the spot for reflexive practice

Sensemaking Schemas, Frames, & Mental Models

A better understanding of the dynamics of sensemaking interactions between directors in the board room, between directors and managers, and between managers and staff, is likely to improve your nonprofit’s governance and organisational effectiveness. Schemas everywhere Insights regarding ‘schemas’ (sometimes called ‘frames’) from the fields of Psychology and Sociology can help us in this undertaking.… Continue reading Sensemaking Schemas, Frames, & Mental Models