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

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

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

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 …?

“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 …”

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

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

Foolosophy in the boardroom

Archetype lenses In systems thinking, we often use mental models, of which the archetype is one variety, to provide us with a lens that helps to simplify the ‘story’ of what’s happening in our work and social environment. Archetypes come in many shapes and sizes. At the macro level, system archetypes decompose the elements and… Continue reading Foolosophy in the boardroom

Strategic Causality

Delving beneath the surface In my reflective practice work with mentees from a wide variety of organisations, a good deal of our time is spent exploring ‘beneath the surface’ of events and circumstances. Our aim is to better understand the underlying drivers and factors at work, to inform the shaping of considered responses, and avoid… Continue reading Strategic Causality

The science of ‘worth’ – your Theory of Value

Non-profit directors and managers don’t need to be philosophers to consider issues of value in their work, but it may help them to recognise the many different forms of value they have a responsibility to promote and nurture. Every decision and action is, of course, an expression of value. What we consider important, or of… Continue reading The science of ‘worth’ – your Theory of Value