Regret: your improvement catalyst

In my work with nonprofit organisations, and with mentees across a wide range of commercial and nonprofit settings, I see regret quite often as a drag on innovation, productivity, and improvement. One of the key steps involved in moving my clients forward, therefore, is to help them shift from feeling somewhat stuck in regret, to… Continue reading Regret: your improvement catalyst

How long is your governance ‘year’?

Need for a key dates calendar Some of the smaller associations and community groups I have worked with have no staff, so volunteer directors and committee members are charged with doing all the work involved in running the organisation. I recently assisted one such group with the establishment of a Governance Committee, and part of… Continue reading How long is your governance ‘year’?

Identifying with purpose

When working with mentees, one of the key things I listen for is any statement beginning “I am …”. Such statements are a good indicator of how the mentee defines their personal identity. “I am …” statements often arise when discussing a mentee’s goals. I might first ask them to clarify their goals, and perhaps… Continue reading Identifying with purpose

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

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

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 …”