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

Red flags, risk matrices, or bow-ties?

Red Flag Memes Last year red flag emojis became something of a meme on social media. While red flag warnings were used most frequently in posts about personal relationships, they were also used in posts on political, sports, and business matters, amongst others. While it may be stating the obvious to observe that red flag… Continue reading Red flags, risk matrices, or bow-ties?

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