Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The stories of your brand

David Pollay writes at Positive Psychology Daily, "Our life is not a series of facts only. It is mostly a set of interpretations we have made about events in our life. These interpretations add up to a story -- a story of who we think we are, what we have experienced, and what we're likely to do in the future."

This is true for your organization as well. Your brand is not simply a series of facts. While it stems from fact (a quality product or service), it is created from the interpretations of your customers and employees. It is in the stories told -- the ones you craft carefully as well as the ones you might never hear. Gather stories. Conduct a communications audit. Survey. Take steps so that the stories of your organization reflect your brand and your vision of achievement.
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Friday, August 03, 2007

Building Better Nonprofit Board Leaders

Nonprofit leadership is as much about an effective Board as it is about a visionary staff. Well-meaning, yet ill-intentioned, business leaders can wreak havoc. Help them help you. When staff clearly explain the Board member's role and the responsibilities, they can all be better leaders. Add these four things and you've got business people who will build and support better nonprofit leadership:

1. Take responsibility. Nonprofit service isn't about building a resume and it's more than feeling good about "giving back." Nonprofit leadership is about being accountable for moving the organization forward from a position of strength. Take responsibility for asking questions and making tough decisions.

2. Bring a business mind to the table. Board members need to bring the same business sense to making decisions on a nonprofit Board that they would in their own Board room. Yes, there are differences between not-for-profit and for-profit operations, but limited resources make the balance between them all the more important.

3. Commit to communicate. Consensus-building is often the norm on Boards. Business leaders committed to clear communication that aligns stakeholders can facilitate the type of progress that converts leadership into progress. Communicate clearly, communicate often.

4. Build a better bottom line. Business leaders need to operate from the mindset of fiscal responsibility that bends to mission. It isn't about turning a profit, but it's not about losing money either. Deficit budgeting is dangerous for any organization. Business leaders can bring their financial goal-setting expertise to the table so that the strategic direction of the organization is strengthened by balanced budgets.
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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Transformation begins inside

How can you transform your organization? Start with your employees.

In a discussion about change at Merrill Lynch, Diane Schueneman emphasizes how critical it is to facilitate learning opportunities for workers. Develop training programs, offer innovation incentives and support coursework at all levels to allow employees to lead your company’s evolution.

Never forget: people are the organization. Create new ways for people to grow and your business will do the same.

From the archive: Build them, you build your brand.
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