Performance P m e Nonprofit Professional WHAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED! Vol. 1 No. 2 $12.95 Magazine 360
Engaging Your True North Recognizing Our Inner Creativity Peter Sims
The Secret of Engagement
Mentoring Future Nonprofit Leaders
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Featured personality Leading from Your “True North”
Jeffrey Magee Co-Publisher Jeff@ProfessionalPerformanceMagazine.com Hugh Ballou Co-Publisher Hugh@SynerVisionLeadership.org Todd Greer Managing Editor Todd@SynerVisionLeadership.org Sandy Birkenmaier Acquisitions Editor Sandy@SynerVisionLeadership.org Kim Cousins Creative Designer Kim@KCousins.com Brett Archer Director of Business Development Brett@JeffreyMagee.com Single Copy Order or Online Digital Subscriptions, visit... NonprofitPerformance.org Advertising info@SynerVisionLeadership.org SynerVisionLeadership.org ProfessionalPerformanceMagazine.com
Forgiveness in Churches and Nonprofits
Everett Worthington, Jr.
Nonprofit Boards Connected by Values, Guided by Principles
What Leads the Leader?
Planning Keep Your Nonprofit In Good Standing
The Secret Sauce of Engagement 22 David Gruder
Mentoring Future Nonprofit Leaders
Design Corner Workspace Impacts Work Culture 13 Bob Fox Nonprofits that work Institute for Clergy Excellence 14
Point & Counterpoint Dialogues on Values Hugh Ballou & Jeffrey Magee
Directing Your Own Leadership Journey
What Makes an Appeal Mailing Work?
Strategy Clarifying Your Cause Will Shape Your Manifesto
The Cabell Brand Center Think Globally, Act Locally Tamim Younos & Angela Conroy
Academic Desk Enabling Excellence in Nonprofits 20 Lynn Wooten & Kelle Parsons
Nonprofit Professional Performance Magazine and Professional Performance Magazine are quarterly magazines. Each is published as a digital subscription publication and as a hard copy edition. The views expressed in the ar- ticles and advertisements are those of the con- tributing writers and advertisers, and may not be the views of the management and staff of the publication. The magazine assumes no li- ability for the contributions in this magazine and all content is intended as developmental in nature. SynerVisionisa501(c)(3)nonprofitorganization, and this publication serves its mission.
The Myth Buster 36 Recognizing the Creativity in All of Us! David Burkus
Funds Attraction How Values Relate to Your Fundraising
Executive Office Leading through Transition
SynerVision’s Nonprofit Performance Magazine is an affiliated publication of ProfessionalPerformanceMagazine.com.
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4 I Nonprofit Professional Performance Magazine
The Official Guide to All Things Nonprofit Nonprofit Performance Magazine brings impact which spreads hope and direction to those who are changing their communities and the world. This magazine is a great resource for nonprofit executives and religious leaders. • Learn from key thought leaders who can assist you in propelling your organization to reach its potential • Read in-depth stories written by those who have found success at the front line of the social benefit journey • Learn about the impact of community, communication, and collaboration in your organization
Performance P r n e Nonprofit Professional WHAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED! Vol. 1No. 1 $12.95 Magazine 360
ENLARGE T hose A round Y ou The Architecture of Engagement
From Scarcity Thinking to Focused Impact 21 Experts Share Ways Nonprofits Work
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Next Edition Highlights March 2015
Joan Kuhl Founder of Why Millennials Matter, an international speaker, and author, presents a model for engaging nonprofits in your organization.
Frances Hesselbein President and CEO of The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute boldly encourages leaders to seek to understand the impact that engaged Millennials can bring to the organization.
Sarah Cunningham Author of The Well-Balanced World-Changer and Beyond the Broken Church, shares insight to how faith communities can work to rescue relationships with a disillusioned generation.
Derrick Feldman President of Achieve, a design firm for causes, and co-author of Cause for Change provides a research-based perspective for how Millennials feel and behave toward causes.
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From the Publishers...
per-form-ance (n) : 1.The act, process, or manner of performing. 2. An accomplishment; deed. 3. To begin, carry out, fulfill. 4. To function in a certain way; act.
How often do you, as a leader in your organization, ask, “Why you do what you do?”This is an extremely important question. Isn’t it? Every day you act, engage, raise funds, inform, and bring impact to your community based on a particular set of values. Values Regardless of whether you recognize them or not, they are present in your organization and they certainly influence the way you do things and the depth of your impact. In this issue, we examine what values bring impact to your organization and how. Each of our contributions provides some insight into the ways that values influence your work, from our featured contributor, Peter Sims, the co-founder of the nonprofit Fuse Corps, author of Little Bets , and co-author of True North with Bill George; to Dr. Everett Worthington, whose encouragement for nonprofit organizations to embrace forgiveness stems from his years of research and writing on forgiveness which has provided tremendous international impact. We at Professional Performance 360 Magazine and SynerVision Leadership Foundation are pleased to present you with this issue of Nonprofit Performance Magazine and challenge you to envision how each article in this magazine can be used to grow your organization. How can Dr. David Burkus’ advice about creativity and empathy spur your imagination? What can you learn about transitions from Virginia Tech Athletic Director, Whit Babcock? How do Dr. Lynn Wooten and Kelle Parsons change the way your organization focuses on the positive? How do Hugh’s article and the article by Dr. Roberta Gilbert reshape your action ideas for empowering values? And, how does Jeff ’s article affect how you think about future leaders? Research has continually shown that you value what you spend your time and attention on. What do you value in your organization? What are your values? Are they written on a wall, or are they enacted as you engage your members, board, donors, and staff? This issue is our challenge to you, and us, to truly enact our values.When we do this, the impact on our communities will be amazing!
6 I Nonprofit Professional Performance Magazine
Performance f rm e Professional WHAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED! Vol.21,No. 3 $12.95 Magazine 360
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MGSteveDanner Professional Performance r a WHAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED! Vol. 21,No.2 $12.95 Magazine 360 JeffreyMagee DavidBoren UnderstandingYour TrajectoryCODE
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A Community for Community Builders to Grow Your Organization
The SynerVision Leadership Foundation is a membership community for social benefit leaders — religious leaders, nonprofit executives, foundation directors. Collaboration is the core of social benefit. The reality is that together we can accomplish more. Together we build bigger, encourage deeper, reach wider and care farther. You want this in your religious, nonprofit, charity and educational institutions.
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8 I Nonprofit Professional Performance Magazine
Hugh Ballou Board Development
Nonprofit Boards Connected byValues, Guided by Principles
“A nonprofit board is looking after the governance of the organization and safeguarding its mission. As a board member, I feel this responsibility even more keenly as it is even more critical in difficult economic times and where headlines are creating doubts in the minds of donors and stakeholders.” - Lucy E. Marcus, Professor of Leadership and Governance at IE Business School O rganizations often develop a list of core values as a critical basis for strategic planning. These core values, written or unwritten, frequently become a vague memory as the organization moves into implementation of the strategy.We create the values, feel good about them, and then put them away to ignore because we are too busy. Conflict then arises when well-intentioned people get into disagreement while moving into implementation. Core values, are essential in identifying and attracting like- minded people to a common cause, but you also need guiding principles. Psychiatrist Murray Bowen developed eight concepts of leadership based on leaders’ differentiation of self within a group emotional system and understanding self by understanding their family of origin. Bowen Family Systems emphasizes guiding principles as a fundamental part of this. Organizations, like individuals, are created differently and are led by unique and individualized guiding principles informed and supported by core values. When working with nonprofit boards, I often discover that board members have lost track of the organization’s core values and have never defined how they will make decisions on behalf of the organization. After conducting an exercise to review and revise their core values, the group discovers that working through conflict has a pathway.
individual needs or desires. Consensus is a resource to move disagreement from conflict into creative engagement. This model is counterintuitive because we have been taught that defining core values is the norm. Moving into a new pattern of thinking means establishing a new architecture of engagement first. I mentioned consensus, which is commonly misunderstood as compromise, as a form of creative problem solving in setting goals. I regard consensus as win/win and compromise as lose/lose. In compromise, everyone gives up something in order to reach agreement. Consensus is using divided opinions, that might create a division in a vote and in the board, to formulate a better decision for the benefit of the organization; the theory of having an uneven number of board members to break a tie vote actually creates more conflict. Consensus is a decision reached through group process and backed by relationship. Core values are an essential element in board alignment and a critical step in qualifying potential board members. If personal and organizational values do not align, that person is not a good fit for the organization’s board and most likely not fit for any position of leadership in which decisions will impact the values of the organization. Use a small effort in paying a small upfront cost, rather than paying a higher cost in unraveling destructive conflict later. Hugh Ballou, SynerVision Leadership Foundation’s Founder and President, is the Transformational Leadership Strategist TM and Corporate Culture Architect working with visionary CEOs, pastors, and nonprofit leaders and their teams to develop a purpose driven high performance collaboration culture that significantly increases productivity, profits, and job satisfaction.
In my experience, core values are static and guiding principles are active. Here’s a list of typical Core Values : • Quality • Excellence in Service • Integrity • Value • Creativity In contrast, here’s a list of GuidingPrinciples constructed from those same core values to guide consistency in decisions: • We will develop and maintain the highest standard of quality in our culture, services, and processes with a regular scheduled process for evaluation, revision, and recommitment to those standards. • Our services and products are created and delivered with the highest standard of excellence possible – no exceptions, no compromise. • We will not accept money from any source that intends to compromise our standards of excellence. • Integrity is reflected throughour leadership decisions, personal interactions, respect for all persons, and personal conduct within and outside the organization. • We demonstrate value in our management of funds, use of time, commitment to deadlines, and respect of individuals over their use and donations. • Creativity rules when seeking the best choices that benefit the organization over
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10 I Nonprofit Professional Performance Magazine
Aaron Young Planning
Keep Your Nonprofit In Good Standing
M ost nonprofits are started by idealistic individuals who see a need, and come together because they want to make a difference. During these early stages, the
for you to promote the mission and the cause of the organization. Not only is this a great way to self-promote the cause, it’s also a way to show that you are meeting the requirements as outlined by the rules and regulations The board of the nonprofit plays a critical role in overseeing the eligibility of the nonprofit, fundraising, and providing direction by leveraging their individual strengths as directors. Not only do you want to recruit people who believe in the mission of the nonprofit, you want people who understand how to read financials and have strong connections in fundraising and marketing. Board members should be individuals who don’t have any relationship to the nonprofit. This helps eliminate the perception that transactions are benefiting the individuals and not the organization as a whole. Most people or groups start nonprofits with the intention of making a difference. Unfortunately, good intentions are not enough to keep a nonprofit legal in the eyes of the law or required regulations. To obtain or maintain the benefit of nonprofit status requires a great deal of work and documentation.The good news is that there are many services available that can help you manage this side of the business, so don’t let the extra effort stop you from fulfilling your mission. Aaron Young has empowered business owners for over 20 years to build strong companies and proactively protect their dreams. Aaron has made it his life’s work to arm business owners with success formulas that immediately provide exponential growth and protection. As CEO of Laughlin Associates, Aaron advocates for entrepreneurs and is a pioneer in the incorporation industry. for maintaining your nonprofit status. How strong is your governing board?
energy is high and the mission is clear.The nonprofit, if approved by the IRS, must continue to document and meet certain IRS requirements if they wish to ask for tax-deductible donations. Here is a list of four often overlooked on-going requirements to maintain your IRS status. Is your nonprofit in line with your mission? This might seem like the basic foundation of all nonprofits but, in some cases, as the nonprofit grows and more people become involved, the mission becomes lost. From the board of directors, to the employees, to the volunteers, does everybody have a clear understanding of the goals of the nonprofit? The mission statement should guide the board, employees and volunteers as they represent the nonprofit. Are you dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s? All nonprofits have a heavy burden of documentation. Failure to follow the basics of what is required can result in the loss of nonprofit status and, in a lot of cases, significant tax penalties. Supporting documents that justify the actions of the company should be kept organized and in a safe place for review. Invoices, donations, grants, employee records, approved mission statements, state and federal filings, and receipts are just a few of the documents that must be maintained by the nonprofit. Are the deeds of the nonprofit transparent to the public? Your mission, financials, good deeds and activities should be clear and promoted to the public. If you don’t have a website, you should.This is a great place
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Forgiveness in Churches and Nonprofits Everett Worthington, Jr.
A few special considerations are needed to promote forgiveness in churches and nonprofits. American churches are voluntary organizations that are highly dependent on beliefs and values, existing in a market where people usually have many choices.Those choices can be circumscribed in small towns or, for denominationally committed believers, in geographical areas that are not represented by many denominations. Nonprofits usually pay employees for their work, thus tying people economically to the organization. It is often harder to leave a nonprofit than for most people to leave a church. Still, boundaries are less confining than in most for-profit businesses.Nonprofits also tend to be more cause-driven than most for-profit businesses, making beliefs and values more important than in typical businesses. Voluntary membership and greater salience of beliefs and values matter.Ease of dissolving one’s church or work identity makes it important for leaders and members to treat people more gently, invite more participation, respect individual contributions, let people know their contributions are respected, and seek to repair breeches in relationships quickly before an offended person leaves. Greater salience of beliefs and values means that organizational goals, priorities, missions, beliefs and values must be couched more toward inclusiveness than in other organizations. Social psychology tells us that people who are similar to each other tend to focus on small differences. In dissimilar out-groups,
wrestle through their resentments to achieve emotional forgiveness. • Establish a culture of reconciliation so that people will engage parties with whom they have differences and try to work out hurts, conflicts, and differences. • Help people know the differences among forgiveness (an internal act putting aside future negative behavior, emotions, and motives), communicating forgiveness (people can say, “I forgive you” and not forgive), and reconciliation (a process of rebuilding trust). • Don’t treat forgiveness as strictly will- power. It is a skill. • Help people build their ability to exercise that skill. • Provide resources that can promote self- forgiveness (forgiveself.com ) , forgiveness of others (EvWorthington-forgiveness. com), and reconciliation. Just because they share similar pro-forgiveness and pro-reconciliation beliefs and values, people in churches or nonprofits are not immune to offending or misunderstanding each other. Just because they value forgiveness and reconciliation does not mean that they are experts at each. As a leader, you can help. Everett L. Worthington, Jr., PhD, is Professor of Psychology and Director of Training in Counseling Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. He studied forgiveness in secular and religious populations for over 20 years, and for 7 years he directed A Campaign for Forgiveness Research, a nonprofit raising money to support research in forgiveness.
people tend not to perceive small differences in beliefs and values between themselves and others. Thus, more conflict happens over smaller differences in beliefs and values in cause-driven nonprofits and churches than in larger for-profit businesses. People most often leave jobs and churches because of interpersonal conflict or offense, rather than continually experiencing negative emotions. The lack of forgiveness and reconciliation make the work environment unpleasant. Thus, in churches and nonprofits, forgiveness is doubly important. Here are some forgiveness-relevant guidelines for leaders and members. • Frequently solicit ideas, opinions, participation, and feedback, and treat them respectfully. • When rejecting suggestions or contributions, let people know (effusively) that they are respected, loved, and included. Search for something to accept while you reject the idea or contribution, so the person feels valued. • Be proactive. Anticipate potential controversial contributions, and provide your own suggestions of what would be acceptable. Avoid, if possible, saying what would not be acceptable. • Establish a culture of forgiveness. Help people make decisions to forgive and
12 I Nonprofit Professional Performance Magazine
Bob Fox The Designer Corner
Workspace Impacts Work Culture
R ecently, I participated in a focus group for the book Change Your Space, Change Your Culture , which looks at what affects performance in the workplace. Driven by research showing that nearly 70% of the workforce is disengaged, we focused much of our energy on issues of engagement and culture. Every organization has a unique culture. Space is one tool that can shift or change that culture. Your space becomes the context for the organization’s culture. It reinforces the culture because you need consistency between the way the space is designed and how people interact in it, with the leadership and the goals of the organization. Today’s economy has changed. In Economics 101, we learned about Adam Smith: land, labor, and capital were the basis of the economy. Now, business is driven by ideas, information, experiences, knowledge, and human connections. To avoid disruptive change, you must create a workplace where the power of the idea can be iterated and leveraged in sustaining the organization. We are in a period of immense change and the old workplace doesn’t support this kind of ideation. Private offices for senior managers and leadership inhibit the ability
we’re seeing a greater variety of different types of workspaces. There are probably 40 or 50 different types of spaces that we could design to support collaboration. It might be a big conference room or a small conference room. It might be a little seating alcove or a café. It could be an audio-visual screen, or even a media:scape-type station with built-in video.The value is in matching your culture. Your office space communicates your culture and brand to every person who walks into your office space. They immediately gain an understanding of what the business is about. The old command and control structure, which we’ve grown up in with, is dying. Traditionally, we’ve tried to standardize, minimize, cut, reduce, and maximize efficiency, and what has it done? Essentially it’s inhibited how people work together. You can’t have an effective environment where everything has been completely standardized; you have to have some flexibility. Today’s office is a tool that enables an organization to generate, sustain, iterate, and build ideas, as opposed to just the “place” to which people show up every day. Bob Fox founded Washington, D.C.’s FOX Architects, specializing in architecture, interiors and graphics for the commercial office industry. He advises clients to ensure strategic objectives and workplace performance expectations are achieved. In 2010, Bob started Work Design Magazine , the online publication providing independent and unbiased information on the workplace focusing on research, culture, and design that influence the workplace and how people work, and providing a forum for users, experts and design professionals to share information, ideas, and inspiration.
for those ideas to get out, get discussed, and grow into something that’s going to serve the company. There is, of course, still a need for private areas and concentration space. These spaces may be assigned or unassigned. Simple desks do not have the capacity to deal with all the activities and tasks that are necessary to effectively drive a business forward today. As a result, we’re seeing a greater variety of different workspaces. It’s all about interaction and collaboration and building upon ideas. That’s the essence of what is necessary to sustain a business moving forward and maintaining it long into the future. This increased focus on collaboration is one of the most important innovations of the past two decades, but that means the space has to shift from the individual to the community. Individual offices and individual work areas have gotten smaller, and community spaces have gotten much larger. As mentioned,
If your organization is getting ready to build, purchase, lease, or adapt your space, it is imperative that you have the following: • An appropriate budget • An understanding of your technological needs and how to integrate technology into the work life of your people • An appreciation of sustainability factors (primarily good air and natural light) • A layout that balances a collaborative environment with quiet spaces for deep functioning
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Nonprofits that Work
I n the 1970s, Peggy and Edwin Dixon of Birmingham, Alabama, established the Methodist Educational Leave Society (MELS) as a strategy to improve preaching in the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church. MELS offered generous grants to enable United Methodist pastors to take sabbatical leaves to study preaching. Soon the Dixon grants expanded to include peer groups in addition to individual study leaves. Howard Marks, pastor of St. John’s United Methodist Church in Roebuck, and Larry Dill, pastor of East Lake United Methodist Church, approached the Dixons and the MELS Board of Directors with an idea for peer-group learning. In addition to sabbatical leaves, they asked if the program could be expanded to include a peer group of eight who would study together over a period of three to four years. Ed Dixon had experienced the clout of peer learning at the Harvard School of Business. “In the 16-week Program for Young Executives,” he said, “I noticed that I learned as much or more from my peers than from the professors.” He encouraged the MELS Board to experiment with a peer learning program. Self-selecting peer groups took charge of their own learning by designing unique “non-churchy” travel/study programs whose goal was improving excellence in preaching. Pastoral leaders in peer groups studied together over time and held one another accountable to the learnings. The Institute for Clergy Excellence was founded in September 2002 by nine pastors whose preaching had been transformed by
Congregations benefit as well. A national study recently commissioned by the Lilly Endowment found that congregations served by a pastor engaged in a peer learning group are more likely to: • Be highly participatory and emphasize community service • Experience numerical growth • Have strong youth ministries, preparing young people for service In addition, their pastoral leaders also spend more time effectively representing the church in the community. Since 2002, ICE has been funded by: • The Lilly Endowment, Inc. • The Dixon Foundation • The Marie A. and Leon W. Bone Charitable Trust • The Daniel Foundation of Alabama • The Warren P. and Ava F. Sewell Foundation • ICE Board of Directors’ gifts • Fees from peer group participants • Fees from participants’ churches or ministry settings • Individual contributions from supporters who believe in the method More than thirty years after Ed and Peggy Dixon began implementing programs to help clergy excel, self-directed learning continues to be tested and refined by the Institute. Now, meet Larry Dixon with The Institute for Clergy Excellence.
MELS. They invited Ed and David Dixon to join them on a writing team to prepare a grant proposal for the Lilly Endowment, Inc. The Dixons encouraged the team to expand the peer groups beyond the United Methodist clergy of North Alabama. Since its inception in 2002,The Institute for Clergy Excellence (ICE) has sponsored peer groups with 192 pastoral leaders, including rabbis, from 28 denominations in nine states. ICE offers a learning approach that employs self-directed learning as its core operational strategy. This methodology, which affords adults the opportunity to take charge of their own learning, has been developed and tested for over 30 years. The generosity of Ed and Peggy Dixon gave pastors who participated in MELS the opportunity to design the learning experience that they believed would best sustain them in ministry excellence.The ICE program, in the tradition of MELS, assumes that pastoral leaders know what they need to be sustained in excellent ministry. It assumes also that pastors in peer groups can formulate how to go about meeting that need. Clergy who participate in peer groups that promote self-directed learning strengthen each other.Members of a peer group have the support to discern and make needed changes, as they go along. Interdenominational peer groups give pastors an opportunity to share vulnerabilities without fear of competition for future churches or judgment by a denominational leader.
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Nonprofits that Work
Directing Your Own Leadership Journey The Institute for Clergy Excellence Larry dill
O ne of the least understood places is the mind of a leader. It is a place that few people understand, given the constant mix of urgent issues, long- term development, emotions, stresses, and relational concerns. Commitments to board members, staff, key leadership, donors, members, and the public often make personal and professional development an afterthought for leaders, especially religious leaders. Our intention was based on personal experience that leaders need others, but they also need to understand that they can lead their own learning. We developed the Institute for Clergy Excellence to promote collaboration and agency among religious leaders, challenging the status quo for both leadership and education. The Development of the Group. The conversation typically starts when someone hears about our program. When they call, we buck the trend of most programs, saying, “Great, now you need to put together a peer group. Here’s how: reach out to one or two colleagues that you would like to study with over a period of three years. Once someone says they’re interested, your question to them is, ‘Who would you like to invite?’” That keeps going until you get a group of eight people, which we have found over the years to be an ideal group size. One of our central tenets is agency, best defined as the capacity of individuals to act independently and make their own choices. Their self-selection, then, is the first step to encouraging participants to show personal agency for this process. It’s different from someone saying, “I’d like to be placed in one
get it out of your head and into the experience of your congregation? We tell them that we expect them to tell us how they propose to do that. That whole self-directed “creative agency” is the method. We encourage them to change as they go along, examining all the details that they can come up with: when are they going to do this, what are they going to do, how are they going to prepare for it, how are they going to follow up, what is it going to cost? Most of our groups have changed their projects because it’s dynamic. On the first module, they might have some mind-blowing experience that causes the group to say, “Why didn’t we think of this when we were doing our plan?”Again, the facilitators are helping them to remember that there’s opportunity to change as you go along. It’s really hard for people to accept this creative agency. They expect the traditional patterns of requirements and evaluations. For instance, I always meet with a group for the first time once they get their eight people together, to give them an orientation and to determine which one of the facilitators might be the best for them. When I’ve given my introduction and orientation, in which I go into agency and self-directed learning, they very typically ask, “How often do we have to meet?” They’re a bunch of busy people, but they think they’re busier than they are, and they think they’re more important than they actually are. “How often do we have to meet? I don’t know if I’ve got time for this.” The answer is, “You decide that. I meant it fifteen minutes ago when I said you take charge of your own learning here. You not only
of your groups.” Getting the group together is a ragged team-building process. A lot of people think they want to be in such a group, and when they actually get in, they see that it’s exciting – but different! We push against the tendency in education to embark on what is planned for you to learn. Our process is: 3. With the facilitator as a coach, the group designs a three-year travel study program and a purpose. 4. Participants propose the design to a review group made up of our facilitators (all of whom have been participants in the program). 5. The review board provides feedback, suggestions, and questions, and changes are made for the final project. 6. The group starts on their journey. While it looks simple, it is very intentional. They create a pretty detailed pattern about what they’re going to do. We have a guide for how the proposal should look. There are major travel modules, and we expect there to be a strategy for preparation of each module. Then there is a strategy for follow-up for each module. We expect every group to outline how they’re going to apply what they learned in their three-year program. How do you 1. They select their group. 2. We assign a facilitator.
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take charge of the subject and how you’re going to study it, but you take charge of this group, how you’re going to function, how often you’re going to meet. We don’t have a particular pattern.” Of course, you have to tell them that over, and over, and over again, and the facilitators do that. The facilitators have been in such a peer group, and they understand that they, themselves, had a hard time getting that. We give them space for self-direction and agency, but we also believe in evaluation. It is never us telling them what to do, but we are always seeking their deeper learning: “What does this mean to you? How are you applying this?” Whatever they say to us is transformative to them, and it may be completely different from what they presented in their proposal. We are creating a platform or a context in which mature clergy, beyond that point of jumping through everybody’s hoops, can claim their own agency for self-directed renewal. Building Grant Attractiveness. The early program that we had in Alabama, which lasted about twelve years, came to the attention of the Lilly Endowment staff, unbeknownst to us. But Ed and Peggy Dixon, the couple that had started and
funded the program, had done an evaluation, and somehow that evaluation got to the Lilly Endowment staff. As we learned later, Lilly’s religion staff had been giving money to seminaries, research projects, and other similar entities, but they were looking in new directions and saw this program in Alabama that was peer-group based.They put together a new grant division called Sustaining Pastoral Excellence for funding peer groups with self-directed learning. A group of us who had been part of this earlier program saw an ad regarding this new direction and decided to get involved. We assembled a writing team and were awarded the first grant: $2,000,000 for five years. They funded about 67 projects around the country. At the end of the first five years, they offered a partial continuation grant for another five years, which was half of what the original grant was so, in our case, that was another million. We have always, also, had a vigorous local fundraising effort, and a high buy-in. Peer group members are expected to contribute $600 a year for three years. Each church with a staff member selected also provides $900 a year through the duration. Each group receives an $80,000 continuing education grant, but $36,000 of that was paid by their
personal and religious organizations’ giving. The Institute’s board of directors engages in fundraising efforts, as well. While we were awarded two grants totaling $3 million by the Lilly Foundation, we raised locally about $2.7 million. Now we’re at the end of that very generous funding from Lilly and we continue to investigate funding options. Our peer-group members and their churches pay a substantial amount of the programming costs, but we continue to work to find ways to fund the $80,000 education grant for each group’s program.We also have a group committed to working on funding, raising additional money from their acquaintances. Two members of the group have people within their churches who are decision-makers in small family foundations. We recognize these sources aren’t the same as a $1 or $2 million dollar grant but, as social benefit organizations, you continue to raise funds to help the cause. Dr. Larry Dill, a member of Leadership Birmingham and Leadership Huntsville/Madison County, Alabama, is the Executive Director of the Institute for Clergy Excellence. He is past president of the Minister’s Association of Greater Birmingham and of Eastside Mental Health Center. In 1987, he was chosen Citizen of the Year by the Eastern Area Chamber of Commerce in Birmingham, AL.
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16 I Nonprofit Professional Performance Magazine
Brian Sooy Strategy
Clarifying Your Cause Will Shape Your Manifesto
E very day, worldwide, meaningful causes are trying harder than ever to get noticed, to rise above the noise, inspire change, motivate action, and speak with one voice. Before that can happen, you and your organization have to clarify who you are and what you do. At Aespire, we call this the Clarity Process. The underlying aspect of leadership people are looking for, from and in organizations, is clarity. People need to know who are you, what do you do, why does it matter, and what difference are you making? When people engage this guided process with us, they sometimes find that they confirm what their cause is; other times the process clarifies what their cause is; and it causes some to realize that they didn’t have a handle on what their cause is. Ultimately, seeking clarity through this process helps leaders discover their values. Many of us struggle as did this potential client. He said, “I know what my values are, I just can’t get them out of my head.” The Clarity Process helps you get those values out of your head and onto paper so that you can start to plan for them and act on them.That’s how those values must be operating—not just on a piece of paper or a wall somewhere. Values are real when they show up in your character. When behavior is consistent and engaged in by others, it becomes culture. After we have clarified the big picture,we have to continue by seeking clarity in what we do. I walk through a basic planning process with one of my staff, and I say, “Here’s the end, but we need to know the client’s objectives, so we
communication. When you think about most conflict, most failure— where’s the biggest breakdown that occurs? It’s communication. Communication is always the internal gap between leadership and team, between organization and the public. Communication is the voice. But if you don’t know what your values are, what you stand for, or what your cause is, and it’s not clear enough to you, then your voice is muted! You’re not going to be able to communicate with clarity.What we say must echo what we believe and what we do! If we know strategically that our vision is this, then we have to ask: are the activities we are pursuing consistent with this? Are they going to lead us along the path that we need to get to the destination we all know? If not, then we need to clarify! Brian Sooy is the founder and design director of Aespire ® , a design and marketing communications agency working with nonprofits, foundations, and other meaningful causes. He advises professionals and leaders from mission-driven organizations on positioning, marketing, and communications principles to help connect their purpose and mission with their audience. Brian serves on the board of directors and executive committee of Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio as a volunteer. His new book, Raise Your Voice .
need to begin with the end in mind.” That’s totally Stephen Covey: begin with the end, and then look at the interim objectives that we need to meet. Clarity regarding our actions causes us to ask, “What do we need to start today in order to meet objective one? What do we need to start tomorrow to meet objective two? Three days from now, to meet objective three?” When those three objectives are met, they all come together to meet the main objective. Clarity Process Who are you? What do you do? Why does it matter? What difference are you making? A lot of people just say, “Well, we’re going to do this, so you do this and you do this and we’ll hope it comes together at some point.” They’re thinking tactically, not strategically. They’re thinking about the things they can do without thinking what the end is going to be. That comes down to vision: what do we want it look like at the end of the day? We must be mindful as we are seeking clarity in our cause, values, and vision that we don’t fail to remember clarity in our
SynerVision Leadership .org I 17
What Leads the Leader?
18 I Nonprofit Professional Performance Magazine In addition, emotions are not always logical, so when the whole organization is operating under a handicap of emotional intensity, it becomes difficult for everyone in it to think logically and creatively about carrying projects through from beginning, to middle, to the end. Without that ability to carry through, death of the organization is the end result. S ome leaders are led by their emotions, and they lead their organizations with an intensity that leaves little room for others and won’t take “no” for an answer. These are the ones who use up all the oxygen in the room. Their emotions are catching, so the whole organization becomes intense as a result of their emotionally-led leadership. They are intensely loved or intensely hated. Sometimes they are dealing with many personal issues. This may be a pattern that started in their families of origin and continued to the present. Or it may have more to do with present stressors. Wherever it comes from, they carry around a high level of emotionality. Typically this type of leadership ends up not lasting overly long. The leader, or the organization led by a leader who leads by emotion, may self-destruct in any of several different ways. For one, the organizations they lead find it hard to carry through on projects for many reasons. One is that these leaders change their minds a lot. That is because emotions are evanescent: they come and they go, so emotion-led leadership changes the direction of the organization frequently, and often without a discernible basis for doing so. This organization can’t stay with a plan long enough to accomplish anything of value, and so it fizzles out.
on the basis of friendship. Because they may or may not have competence for the job, the organization is at risk. These bosses like to give orders, and they surround themselves with people who are good at taking them and are loyal to a fault. These leaders may install people who are emotionally immature, or do not understand the product or goals of that work group, or who are just plain incompetent for placement into positions of leadership within the organization. Yes, they are loyal to the leader but, again, the organization is at a disadvantage when these people are in leadership positions simply on the basis of friendship loyalty. People are not free to think, innovate or bring energy to the workplace – they have too much energy tied up in making the relationships work well in a relationship- led organization. So, though relationships and emotions are important and valuable to the total human experience,and important to leadership,when leadership is based primarily on one or both of these, it will rarely be successful for long. What remains, then? What leads the most successful leader? Extraordinary Leadership Seminar, with a thoughtful approach to high- level leadership, considers much of what it takes to become an emotionally mature, solid leader – the kind whose organizations do well, for whom people love to work, and who do not carry around an inordinate amount of stress. We find that these leaders lead on the basis of principle. First of all, they lead their organizations into an exploration of becoming clear on just what its guiding principles are. This
The thinking of the emotion-led leader is fired by the emotional centers of their brains, (located lower in the brain), so we call this bottom-up thinking. Their thinking is strongly affected by the emotion of the moment. They have little ability to separate the thinking and emotive (automatic) functions of the brain. Unfortunately, under the influence of strong emotion, the cerebral cortex, where thinking takes place, and which is required for most high level human functioning, does not operate reliably. I think of it as the cortex’s message getting jammed, like a radio or TV station’s might. Bottom-up (emotionally-based) thinking is illogical, evanescent, and contradicts itself a lot. When someone who thinks like this is at the helm, everyone is at sea, usually wondering what kind of a day it will be today, or “What next?” No one has enough reliable cerebral cortical activity for long enough to think, create, or innovate, all of which supplies the life blood of a successful organization. People who live and work there must expend too much energy adapting to the emotional environment and pleasing the leader, who is usually quite controlling. Other leaders lead (mislead?) in a different way. They lead on the basis of relationships. They choose their friends to work around them.The friends may or may not be the best ones for the job, but they are loyal. They will do what is required and expected by the leader
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