An Options Framework for Nonprofit Turnarounds

Over the last 10 years, I’ve been developing an informal diagnosis and strategy model for choosing financial turnaround strategies for nonprofits and social enterprises. In this working model, I’ve named 12 directional themes and not quite 100 strategy options. To use the model, the first diagnostic question is whether the problems are low-level and chronic[…]

What New Executive Directors Have in Common with a TV Host

Last week, I wrote a bit to encourage new executive directors, especially those following a founder. On Sunday, I read the piece in Sunday’s print Washington Post Arts & Style section on current host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah (similar but different story by same writer, WaPost online). What jumped out were the observations and[…]

Alignment from the Inside out

My goal was to start the day by centering the work around impact. From my pre-retreat survey of a community foundation board of directors and conversations with its leadership, I understood them to be facing a pileup of open program and policy issues with no clear path for making decisions. There was an underlying question about whether everyone agrees[…]

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How Many Board Committees Should We Have?

Q: How many board committees should our nonprofit have? A: As few as you need.  Lots of Executive Directors and Board Chairs make what turns out to be a burdensome mistake by setting up a traditional board structure with lots of committees. There’s Finance, Development, the Executive Committee, the Audit Committee, and Board Recruitment and Development, and[…]

Principles for Productive Board-CEO Relationships

Today, I’m preparing to teach a class on Sustainable Leadership in its Center for Social Entrepreneurship program at George Mason University. A significant part of the lesson is about boards, a subject that often (and to be fair, usually) stymies the most capable and professionals. While there is a lot to discuss and debate on[…]