Who’s up next?

What happens if the Executive Director of your organization unexpectedly quits, get seriously ill, or, worse, dies? Who would be in charge? How would your organization go about finding its next leader?

passing the batonThe Edyth Bush Institute of Nonprofit Management and Leadership at Rollins College recently rolled out the 2017 Central Florida Nonprofit Benefits and Compensation Report. This report summarizes information gleaned from surveys of 161 local nonprofit organizations from 7 Central Florida counties. While 33 (20%) organization self reported an expected turnover in the CEO/ED position in the next three years, only 42% of organizations have an updated emergency succession plan.

Start succession planning now before there is a problem!

Executive leadership succession is one of key functions of a board of directors. Do this planning before an emergency happens. Proper planning can help elevate the emotional component to what might otherwise be a potentially volatile time. The departure of long-time leaders, especially founder/CEOS, is particularly challenging in the nonprofit sector. Planning can also be an excellent opportunity to examine and evaluate the current leadership structure and job responsibilities. This is not simply about ED, there may be other key staff positions that could benefit from succession/ emergency planning.

Check out this article, Five Steps to Stronger Succession Plans in Nonprofits, by Charles Ingersoll and Divina Gamble for some great tipns.. Charles Ingersoll Jr is senior client partner and co-leader of nonprofit practice at Korn Ferry. Divina Gamble is co-leader of Korn Ferry’s nonprofit, philanthropy and social enterprise practice.

Schedule time at your board meetings, with your current ED’s involvement, to begin conversation about succession planning and emergency planning. The average time to fill a leadership role can be far more than 6 months. Can your organization survive that gap?

Struggling with this issue? Call me, I can help. I can facilitate the conversation. Are you experiencing that gap right now? I can help. I offer interim leadership services. Contact me for a free consultation.

Is your mission getting creepy?

Sweet Spot revisedKeeping an organization true to mission can be one of the most challenging task an organization faces. Mission is at the very core of an organization and should guide all decisions. An organization should review their mission statement annually and revised as part of the strategic planning every 3-5 years. This regular review guards the organization from having mission creep. The sweet spot of an organization is that intersection of the overarching needs of society, the organization’s problem-solving mission and what donors are willing to fund. Mission creep occurs when programs are expanded beyond the original goals of the mission and typically happens when funding is tight.

Every nonprofit faces the double-edged sword of accountability and autonomy. Nonprofits are accountable to the funders for problem-solving outcomes, yet still have the need to be true to the mission goals. There is the need for money, and there is the desire to stay true to the mission. Temptation occurs when a new opportunity presents itself, and the nonprofit finds itself seduced by the lull of money. It is hard to say no to funders who have money, but come with an agenda. An organization can chase money by creating programs that a donor wants to support. Unfortunately, such programmatic reach can spread thin an already overly worked staff. The need for money can force an organization to take on work that falls outside of mission focus.

To stay focused and guard against mission creep, new programs need to be evaluated according to organization’s values that resulted from the strategic planning process. Planned strategic growth is different from mission creep. A change in mission goals may not always be negative. The life cycle of an organization that is in decline calls for efforts to generate rebirth. An organization may need to make changes to keep their organization alive. Change is a process that can sometimes be painful, but can turn out to be transformative. Mission realignment might involve new constituencies, programs or geographic locations.

The important thing is to create a mission statement and stated values in the strategic plan that are achievable and provide clear parameters.  By providing a clear picture of purpose and goals, a strong mission statement will engage and energize stakeholders, donors, clients and staff. Just keep it succinct so people can remember it.

Every organization needs to make decision on what to move forward on and what to abandon. Just say “no” to funding that doesn’t align. Say “yes” to what will take the organization to the next level.

I’m a June Baby.

June has historically been my time for a personal annual review. For you, June might be the mid-year point in your strategic plan. Either way, June is a great time to reflect on where you are at professionally and personally.

smart-goalsI begin my annual review by going to a quiet space and give myself permission to get into a reflective frame of mind. I’m a make-a-plan and work-the-plan type of person. I have written down long-term and short-term goals in my planning tool kit. Personally, my vision for my future has several categories including physical and financial health, professional development, personal relationships and community connectiveness. Each of my categories have several goals and accomplishments that are broken down into tasks for my plan of action. Goals should be SMART as in Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time specific.

I begin by asking myself a few general questions. Am I happy with what I’ve accomplished so far during the past year? If I’m happy, great. Focus on what’s been working well and do more of that. If not, I ask how can I get back on track? I go over each goal and compare it to what I projected. Am I on track? Have I accomplished what I set out to do? Or am I woefully behind? Ouch! Were my written goals realistic? How can I improve on my action plan? What can I do differently to achieve my long-term goals? Not every goal was achieved last year. I might not have lost that 20lbs this, but I did walk the dog on a daily basis (actionable plan of increased activity), and decreased my sugar intake (translation – I ate less ice cream). I’m adding regular weigh training to my action plan as my birthday present to myself.

To finish my annual review, I write a note to myself a year from now. In the note, I tell myself how proud I am of my accomplishments. I give my future self permission to acknowledge that life is a journey with ebbs and flows. To finish, I pat myself on the back, and, as my reward, sit down to a (small) bowl of ice cream.

#nonprofitgladiator #actionplan #smartgoals