Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Connect Short-term and Long-term Goals

Becoming a strategic organization involves understanding where you're going over the long term and helping people understand how their shorter term activities help moving the collective forward. A long-term framework guides people with broad posts, it offers a light at the end of the tunnel. The annual implementation plan allocates resources and aligns priorities for making the journey through the tunnel. Yet, too many organizations stop there. Effective organizations identify quarterly goals that help keep them looking forward (rather than just at the next step in front of them). [A recent Fast Company article positions the 90-day goals as golden. It offers good context, though without the accompanying annualized intentions, organizations can find themselves taking turns in the tunnel that they didn't intend or didn't need to explore.] An excellent addition is also the 30-day milestone map. At the outset of each month, identify what the team needs to accomplish to proclaim success; review it mid-month to keep it in mind; discuss it at month-end to ascertain progress. Together, these various views help an organization remain mindful of its intentions, actions, and impressions.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Getting Innovation Right

I still remember the disappointment that dampened the elation felt when we put the finishing touches on our latest model: disruptive innovation. A wonderfully creative and compelling creative kit accompanied the concept as a lure for prospective clients. Then, we saw the Harvard Business Review article that rolled out the academic theory for the world to peruse. It was a blow. One more time when well-funded theory would overshadow scrappy practical application. Now, a new twist. Seems that the theory is under some criticism, ala Jill Lepore in The New Yorker. Lepore cites the negativism of the academic theory. It tickles me to consider the flip side we've continued to model, only now through a different label. Our disruptive innovative is focused on the future and built from a foundation of clarity, curiosity, commitment, and communication -- all wrapped in a collaborative spirit. Yep, we got the theory of innovation right.
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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Economics Encourages Enlightenment

An ever-changing world benefits from individuals who can adapt and flex their thinking. Among the many fascinating concepts put forth in Thinking Like An Economist: A Guide to Rationale Decision Making by Randall Bartlett (Smith College), this one really caught my attention: "You don't have well-defined, memorized rules and answers to any question that arises. You have a framework to provide the questions necessary to think your way through, analyze, and reason your way to an important decision." Each component of those two sentences captures a critical concept seemingly contrary to the things valued in today's world and yet so incredibly important to our securing sustainable success. It isn't about the answers as much as it is about the value of a structured process through which you explore concepts, scenarios, and potential outcomes so that you can be more certain of having overturned necessary rocks and looked under otherwise insignificant stones. Economics offers valuable insights on the process of thinking and the practicality of exploring alternatives. May we remember to embrace that thinking and expand upon those ideas.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Effective Executives Focus Beyond the What

McKinsey Quarterly offers an excellent excerpt from Ed Catmull's book, Creativity, Inc., Overcoming the Unforeseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration. It speaks to his experience in building purpose at Pixar, and the excerpt includes an awakening of how his effectiveness went well beyond the what Pixar wanted to accomplish to how it should accomplish it and more.

Executives who understand their purpose as helping others find purpose and meaning in the work they do not only puts the organization on the path toward greater success but also propels them into a reward cycle that goes well beyond immediate returns.
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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Build Better Boards to Elevate Nonprofit Effectiveness

Nonprofit organizations should be enhanced by, not hindered by, their Boards of Directors. Too often, however, Board members don’t understand their role or the parameters within which they must engage to advance the nonprofit’s mission, vision, and values.

In a recent Stanford Social Innovation Review article, “A Better Board Will Make You Better,” the authors asserted that “any board can improve its performance if its members are willing to confront the people, process, and behavior challenges that drag competent people into an abyss of ineffectiveness.”

Handling that confrontation constructively requires knowledge and tools. Individuals interested in enhancing the effectiveness of the organizations they serve are invited to learn more through the 2014 Building Better Boards Nonprofit Governance series being hosted by Timpano Consulting.

The face-to-face training focuses on a different aspect of Board development every third Friday of the month from 8:30AM-10:00AM. Topics include Board goal-setting, fundraising, performance reviews, strategy, and more.

Sessions are held in the Training Center at Wegner CPAs in Madison. Sessions are led by Melanie Schmidt, a nationally certified governance trainer who brings extensive experience in the nuances of nonprofits.

Learn more online at:
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Building Better Boards Seminar Series Continues

Still time to become part of a movement to make nonprofit Boards better! The initiative involves face-to-face training in Madison, Wisconsin, on the third Friday of each month. Start your morning right by learning, sharing, and evolving! The sessions are inexpensive to keep barriers to entry low.

Learn more and register today!
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Focus and Expand Your Experience

Reminders help. They trigger thought, which spark action -- or can, if we're paying attention. Alexandra Horowitz's On Looking was an excellent reminder about our opportunity to experience, explore and expand the world around us simply by paying attention.

The telling wasn't quite what I was expecting in that her walks were not around the same block, and her experts were less of guides than of portals. And, through her frame, Ms. Horowitz opened new worlds of information and knowledge far beyond what may have been experienced or expounded by those with whom she journeyed.

An excellent investment of time as it reminds us to take time and truly experience the things around us, daring us to enjoy it more if we see it from a different perspective.
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Thursday, January 02, 2014

Names Matter

Don't be fooled. What you call your business says a lot about a lot of things. So when you consider starting your own business, consider your intentions in  naming it.
  • Do you want your name in the name? Do you not want your name in the name?
  • Does the name need to be something that you can build with and into (i.e., will your business always be just do, do you see a small team, is a large employee population in your future). 
  • What are some of those things in your life that will shape you approach your work? 
  • Do you need it to be descriptive, reflective or evocative?
  • What characteristics do you want to reflect with your name?

Even answering these straight-forward questions can generate the insight needed to spark your company name. Then, as you consider your ideas, filter them by the story you'd share when people ask why you chose that as your business name.
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