|What Works |
Each edition of this newsletter contains a section I call "What Works."
Most editions include sections from one of two longer articles I'm writing. Why Organizations Thrive and Why Organizations Go Off Course detail lessons I learned while growing the Oregon League of Conservation Voters (OLCV), buttressed by my observations of dozens of other groups both in Oregon and across the country.
Collectively, I believe these lessons are a very useful set of principles that any Executive Director can use to improve their organization's capacity to fulfill its mission.
This month, however, I want to focus on another topic: leadership. Specifically, I'm looking for your feedback on any experiential leadership development programs you've gone through. Do you recommend them or not? Why?
I've been thinking about leadership as I've surveyed the landscape of organizations with whom I've worked or interacted. In many instances, I've concluded that organizational challenges are really just a byproduct of the fact that those with authority in the organization lack leadership skills.
Three examples come to mind from the world of Executive Directors.
Being overly deferential to all-volunteer boards. Executive Directors report to the board; and the board has the ultimate authority to set the organization's direction. But in my experience, boards thrive only when the Executive Director articulates a clear vision and strategy. I've watched organizations flounder when the Executive Director has been unwilling to step up and push for a vision or strategy because he or she wants to keep every board member happy.
Paralysis by analysis. Data is good. Being deliberate about decisions is good. But taken too far, I've watched organizations spin their wheels trying to line up the perfect set of information to justify what, in the end, has to be a judgment call.
Read the rest of the article and comment on my blog.