As we talked last week about how passionate you are about your nonprofit’s mission, vision, values, did you find yourself reenergized about your organization’s potential? If you are a leader in your organization, it’s very easy to share your story with others with similar interests and values. I find this may be the easiest piece for the serving leader to accomplish. We’ll talk in later blogs about how to share your story better. Discussions on marketing, public relations, and storytelling will be a large part of our postings here over the next several months.
One of the major success factors for your nonprofit is your people. In Jim Collin’s book, “Good to Great,” he spends significant time on your people. In his booklet, “Good to Great and the Social Sectors,” he calls them resources. I’ll share what I’ve uncovered over the years of working with successful organizations around the world. Some of my clients are social sector businesses and some are not. The greatest commonality I can find among all the great organizations is that they get that people part of process.
People provide you the greatest joy and the great challenge when it comes to building a breakthrough organization. Now, how do you get the right people doing the right things at the right time? This sounds simple, right? The first key element is to assess your current team. Look at what they currently do and in what they should be investing their time. During this process, you must understand what you want your people to do. They must be clear on what is expected of them, and how it fits into the overall success of the organization. Now the challenging part is they must not only have the capability to do what’s needed, but they must also become excellent at it. Nonprofits today are trying to leverage their resources to the greatest extent possible. In the case of nonprofits, this also includes volunteers, part time professional help, and partner organizations. All these people must clearly understand what is expected of them and how they are part of a larger organization. I’m often surprised how often these critical elements of your team are left out of major conversations. For many of us, they may be the only person our patrons and members interact with on a normal basis. I’m sure you’ve had the experience of having visitors onsite and the only person available to talk with them is one of your non-customer facing volunteers. There is an uncomfortable silence while the visitors wait for the help that never comes.
Having the people in the right place is critical to your organization’s success. It also means creating opportunities for people to use their own strengths and life experiences to make their time with your organization an enjoyable experience. We want our teams to love their work and we want them to be good at it. Clearly defined roles allow people to get good at what they do, incorporating their strengths into their role can help make them great. As leaders, we’re responsible for developing our team’s capabilities. We can create greater interest in working with nonprofits by providing ongoing training and mentoring for employees and volunteers. The time you invest in people will pay off in both better performance and in providing significant capabilities to your team.
I will share my thinking next week talking about hiring, developing, and retaining great team members. This is a critical element in helping to take your organization to the next level. I’ve interviewed over 16,000 senior leaders across the globe and have some great tips and ideas to make sure you make your next hire a great one. See you next week.