Remember the Old, Contemplate the New “Year”

During 2007 at Richard Male and Associates, we worked with over 200 nonprofit organizations throughout the United States and internationally including organizations in Ethiopia, Uganda, South Africa, Canada, Australia, and Israel. I thought it was a good time for us to share with our friends and readers of Rich’s TIPS what were some of the themes and issues that we saw that we wanted to share with you.

However, before we do that we want to wish you a wonderful holiday season and a spectacular new year filled with much happiness and success. These are difficult and challenging times for our society (and the world) and nonprofits are not immune to these difficulties. We hope that you will take care of yourselves and the people who are your stakeholders, and that you will focus on the potential and possibility of helping to create a better world.

Themes to look at in the new year

  1. Focus on leadership issues. Leadership is the single determinant that will lead to your success and the accomplishments of your organization’s goal. Focus on what you can do to increase leadership in yourself and the people around you who will be necessary to win and succeed.
  2. Make sure you or someone else is managing the ship. Leadership and management go hand in hand and you need both to succeed. If you are not a good manager but a good leader, consider bringing people into your organization who can manage personnel and systems.
  3. Think pro-actively rather than reacting defensively. Try to anticipate the future rather than reacting to events in the past. With that in mind, admit when you made a mistake rather than acting defensively or not at all.
  4. Work the problem rather than focusing on who is to blame. Don’t worry about blaming others but look at what actions need to be done to accomplish the task in order to accept responsibility ourselves.
  5. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Need I say more. Make sure you are communicating regularly with all of your key stakeholders from your staff, board, volunteers, donors, community, and media. The message and the medium might be different for each stakeholder group, but communicate with all of them.
  6. Don’t be afraid to risk. You will never get ahead by always playing it safe. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas and to step out of your safe zone.
  7. Don’t be scared of making the tough decisions. This is what you are getting paid for. Move toward those decisions you are afraid of because that is where the personal and professional growth will take place.
  8. Continue to grow in your profession. Make sure you attend a workshop or training conference; read a book that will challenge or stretch you; take a class at a university or college, etc. Learn something new all the time.
  9. Improve your technology and infrastructure. This is a very important key to the future. Try to take a class or I bet one of your younger volunteers or staff who was raised on the computer could teach you a thing or two about spread sheets, slide presentations; databases or surfing the web.
  10. Better well done rather than well said. Talk is cheap if it is not followed up by your actions.

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