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Winter 2016


The theme for Winter 2016 is “Accountability.”

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A Culture of Accountability

On mission at Volunteers of America

In leading an organization that helps the most vulnerable members of our society, accountability means much more to me than answering to my board of directors or meeting financial benchmarks. Failing in our mission can literally mean the difference between life and death for those we serve. At the very least, failing to live up to expectations creates an additional barrier blocking our clients from transcending their challenges an...

Release the Reins

Tips for successful leadership transitions

Each day, approximately 10,000 baby boomers turn 65. Many are in leadership roles, including ministry leadership, and they must transfer that leadership to the next generation. I've seen healthy transitions and some badly managed handoffs. So, how can a leader know when it's time to release the reins?

- Do you find yourself annoyed by things that shouldn't annoy you, suc...

Spiritual Growth at Work
Insights on changing a team's culture Changing an organization's culture is a long-term goal. It is a marathon, not a sprint. More than two years ago, I was blessed to be promoted to lead a team. What I found was there was a lack of accountability, no established common thread of faith and unclear expectations for staff performance. I set out to change a culture of fear and intimidation into a culture that embraced servant leadership. To achieve those goals, I needed to iden...
Avoiding Common Board Mistakes

Improving nonprofit board effectiveness

You may have been on a board where one or more of these three mistakes were made. Avoiding these mistakes will improve the effectiveness of your board.

Mistake 1: Underestimating the importance of the board chair.
Is the board chair just another board position - an equal among equals? Hardly! The board chair must be first among equals in three sensitive areas of board leadership that depend di...

Goal Setting

It's the first step in accountability.

I spent most of my career serving in the secular marketplace. The ultimate goal of the companies I worked for was pretty much the same: enhancing shareholder wealth by providing a return to investors. Would a given decision lead to increased sales that eventually covered any increased costs? Payback was front and center in all decisions.

Decision making in ministry is not always so clear. Sometimes exciting ideas win ...

Screening Your Staff

A biblical perspective on due diligence and accountability

Background screening and the Bible may seem like an odd mixture, but I invite you to take a closer look. Your organization is made up of people - flawed human beings who have chosen to follow Christ and who, like Paul, constantly battle with their flesh (Rom. 7:15u201320). These same people are those whom you rely upon for recruiting, screening and selecting staff, leaders, volunteers, members and donors. Si...

Raising Major Gifts

Five common reasons nonprofits fall short

Big gifts are game-changers. Most nonprofit leaders agree that big gifts can open doors to opportunities they would not have had any other way. Yet far too few achieve much real success in major giving. All too often, they struggle to meet goals, rotating through staff and repeating the same patterns year after year, like a hamster spinning on a wheel.

My work as a consultant has afforded me a "peek behind the curt...

The Board Scorecard

A better way to gauge board performance and quality

"For there is a proper time and procedure for every matteru2026." (Ecc. 8:6a)

Boards have a culture that permeates the entire organization. If a ministry fails, one need look no further than the board to discover the first clues to the failure. All boardrooms have porous walls and the culture, performance, aptitudes and a...

Entrepreneurial Leaders Needed!
It's definitely worth the risk. Last year I read several blogs and articles on "how to do more with less." I caught myself reacting internally to that verbiage. After several weeks it dawned on me that I was reacting to a scarcity mindset. In short, a limited worldview of ministry leaders that implies, "There is a finite supply of resources, so we need to allocate them ever more efficiently in a risk-averse manner." Essentially, according to this view, new resources are sc...
Performance Management

Valuing outcomes, performance, transparency and accountability

Outcomes matter. In past decades, many organizations were more focused on organizational culture and inputs rather than outcomes. These days, however, more and more organizations are focusing on outcomes, performance, transparency and accountability.

To provide an introductory overview, inputs are resources we add to our organizations. The most common resource inputs are human and financial. Th...