What do you want to learn in 2020?

What do you want to learn in 2020?

Upcoming workshops and leadership development programs I love learning new stuff, and applying ideas to real-life challenges. Part of me would be in school forever, and I take at least a couple of workshops every year. In recent years, that’s included a pretty eclectic range, from leadership to improv, meditation to pop-up book construction, peacemaking practices, and beyond. Still on the shortlist? Off the top of my head: Italian, mediation, Conversational […]

Designing a better board meeting

Designing a better board meeting

4 steps to make better use of the board’s time and effort  I’ve worked with countless nonprofit leaders—board and staff—over the past decade, and I’ve found that people generally have pretty strong feelings about nonprofit board meetings. On one end of the spectrum, I often hear comments like this:   “Sometimes I’m sitting there on a Tuesday night, away from my family and my dinner and even my TV… And I imagine sending a houseplant in my place. I’m not […]

Agitate, Innovate, or Orchestrate?

Agitate, Innovate, or Orchestrate?

An interesting read in the Stanford Social Innovation Review about the different roles that we can play in social change. One highlight from authors Julie Battilana & Marissa Kimsey: “We identify three distinct roles played by those who participate in movements for social change: agitator, innovator, and orchestrator. An agitator brings the grievances of specific individuals or groups to the forefront of public awareness. An innovator creates an actionable solution […]

Unexpected pairings: skateboards, laundromats, and beyond

Unexpected pairings: skateboards, laundromats, and beyond

My Third-Occasional, Not-Scientific-but-Definitely-True List of Inspiring, Courageous and/or Thought-Provoking Awesomeness As I said in an earlier post, sometimes, the medicine we need is just a gentle reminder about the kindness and courage that exists in the world. About regular people doing what they can–in their corners of the world–to contribute to a more just and humane world. So I started a list of some of the people, organizations, artists, activists […]

Becoming unstuck in the face of complex societal problems

Becoming unstuck in the face of complex societal problems

You’re not alone if you sometimes get discouraged, uncertain, or stuck-in-place when you grapple with persistent and complex societal problems. Here’s a thought-provoking article by Becca Dove and Tim Fisher in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. The authors are two self-professed “relational activists”, and they share several really interesting and hopeful examples of relational activism in action. Photo by J W on Unsplash.

Leadership, sewing, and clowns

Leadership, sewing, and clowns

My 2nd Occasional, Not-Scientific-but-Definitely-True List of Inspiring, Courageous and/or Thought-Provoking Awesomeness.  As I said in a recent post, sometimes, the medicine we need is just a gentle reminder about the kindness and courage that exists in the world. About regular people doing what they can–in their corners of the world–to contribute to a more just and humane world. So I sat down and started a list of some of the people, […]

Research on outcomes: Gauge Leadership Lab

Research on outcomes: Gauge Leadership Lab

My colleagues did some research on program outcomes* for Gauge Leadership Lab, and I’m excited about what we are seeing: 79% of previous participants believed they learned to capitalize on their strengths in the workplace. 98% of previous participants felt they had resolved work conflict more effectively. 35% of participants got promoted after completing Gauge. 100% of participants felt they had been more authentic after completing Gauge. Sound intriguing? I’d […]

A Cascade of Goodwill

A Cascade of Goodwill

The Origins of My First-Occasional, Not-Scientific-but-Definitely-True List of Inspiring, Courageous and/or Thought-Provoking Awesomeness.  I love collective nouns. A flock of geese. A quarrel of sparrows. A charm of finches. A parliament of owls. One morning a couple weeks back, I experienced a series of events that needs a collective noun. A [     ] of [            ]. A magnificence of inspiration. A serendipity of kindness. A cascade of goodwill. I can’t remember exactly what was […]

5 myths that perpetuate burnout in nonprofit organizations

5 myths that perpetuate burnout in nonprofit organizations

Some interesting nuggets about burnout in this article by Anne-Sophie Morrissette. These myths reflect a couple of patterns that sometimes show up among my coaching clients and client organizations. I’m particularly struck by Myth #5 about the influence of nonprofit leaders on organizational culture: “Nonprofit leaders can underestimate and underplay the influence they have on junior staff. Whether it’s never taking a sick day or dashing off emails at 10pm, […]

The highest performing teams have ‘psychological safety’

The highest performing teams have ‘psychological safety’

Google’s two-year study on team performance revealed that “The highest performing teams have one thing in common: psychological safety, the belief that you won’t be punished when you make a mistake.” Psychological safety isn’t about coddling, it’s about creating the conditions for people to engage effectively in analytical reasoning, creative problem-solving, and open-minded collaboration. Many workplaces default to blaming and defensiveness rather than thoughtful analysis and solution-oriented curiosity. How’s the […]