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Leadership in Changing Times – Results Focused

Leadership in Changing Times – Results Focused

Today’s post is a continuation of the conversation we started last week.

As the Leader of a nonprofit organization, you have one of the most important jobs in America …because you are impacting lives and changing the world, one client, one issue at a time.

Yours is also one of the toughest jobs in America. You must be expert at managing a board of directors, major donors, government relations, complex funding streams and public image all in addition to carrying out your mission, often on a shoestring budget while competing for resources in an ever-changing funding environment. Success in this environment demands a highly skilled leader.

Over the past 35 years, I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of different leadership approaches and while there is no “one size fits all”, I have come to believe that there are certain key characteristics that show up regularly when you look at the CEOs of the most successful organizations. These are personal characteristics that transcend time and circumstance; characteristics that are evident in the leaders of organizations which thrive in flush times, in lean times, and in changing times. Over the next several Blog posts, I’ll share those observations with you. This week’s observation is this:

2.  Great not-for-profit leaders are results focused. They measure success not by what they did, but by the “so what”: by what was accomplished. They measure what changed, grew, or improved as a result of the work of their organizations. They establish bold goals and they hold themselves and their teams accountable to those goals. They have the “Responsibility Gene” to the nth degree.

Regardless of what obstacles may get in the way due to changing circumstances, great leaders are driven to find a way to achieve their goals; to achieve the desired results of their organization’s work. They aren’t looking for where to place blame when things go wrong; they are looking for solutions, for ways of overcoming obstacles and correcting course. A great leader doesn’t spend much time looking in the rear-view mirror. When failure occurs or mistakes happen, he will assess, learn, and then apply what he has learned to move on toward success.

A great leader is a strategic thinker. She challenges and asks questions to explore thorny issues from all sides. She sees the big picture and looks for connectors; she asks, “what if….?” She is always searching for opportunities that will advance her organization’s goals.

The great not-for-profit leader is not satisfied with status- quo. He believes that until every citizen has unfettered access to those things that lead to a productive, satisfying life, the work of his organization is not finished. He seeks new paths to reach more clients who need his services, to find ways of delivering those services with more impact, and thus to drive greater change. And he finds tangible, meaningful ways to measure that change. He works with his board and staff to establish goals related to those measures and he holds his entire team accountable to achieving them.

What are your thoughts on Leadership? How do you focus on the so what? Please share your comments!

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