Shared Wisdom for Successfully Leading Organizations

Author: Aretha Ndikumwami

Why a strong narrative matters to a non-profit’s success

A strong narrative is a unifying message, a rally call that helps your staff, volunteers, donors, clients, and potential new friends understand what you do, why, and how you do it. A persuasive narrative draws people into the cause, and provides clarity of your mission. It creates a shared sense of purpose for all your community members.

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Tips to develop strategic and business plans for your non-profit

The following is an excerpt from Chapter Four “Making plans.” Once you have a comprehensive understanding of the key drivers of the organization, you are ready to develop strategic and business plans. Good plans are used to galvanize your team to reach agreed-upon and measurable goals. Plans outline future growth and development by prioritizing an organization’s work for the next three to five years.

This article is focused less on the nuts and bolts of plan-making than it is with the process of preparing a good plan and, in particular, the way to ensure that your plans get the necessary buy- in throughout your organization.

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How to craft the vision of your non-profit organization

Compass points to word "Vision"

The following is an excerpt from Chapter Three, “Crafting the vision.”

If you are leading an organization, you probably believe in its work or mission. Whether it is designing software, awarding scholarships, providing shelter to homeless people, or protecting the environment, you are clear on what the organization’s purpose is. Often, the factors that will help the organization achieve that goal are less obvious. In other words, what is the core business for the organization? As a new CEO, you must take some time to figure this out. If you don’t, your operations can go spinning out in all directions very quickly. Defining your core business is not always simple, but once articulated, it results in a clear vision.

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Three experts talk about good board governance and relationships

For this blog post, we have selected three Five Good Ideas sessions that look at good board governance and relationships. Five Good Ideas is Maytree’s lunch-and-learn program, where industry or issue experts discuss practical ideas on key management issues facing non-profit organizations.

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Your first 40 days as a CEO

The following is an excerpt from Chapter Two, “Getting the job and getting started.” Congratulations! You got the job! Now, what do you do? First, avoid the temptation to make promises and set strategic goals in the first few weeks. This is a common impulse for new leaders, especially first-time CEOs with heroic notions. They run the risk of setting expectations that are too high, making promises that are unrealistic, or acting before thoroughly understanding the organization. Equally troubling, they miss the opportunity that a CEO only truly has in the first few weeks on the job — to get honest and direct feedback from the organization’s stakeholders. Once you are fully integrated in the organization, these stakeholders may not be as willing or able to openly share their thoughts with you.

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