All posts by Bob Cryer

Managing Conflict Between Direct Reports

Adrianne Geiger Dumond

 

One of the most worrisome tasks of a manager is managing conflict between direct reports – especially when it spills over into the staff. Rather than ignoring the situation, here are some steps to take to lessen the toll on everyone, and it is a manager’s responsibility to be held accountable.

Step 1: Setting the tone for a meeting: Preparing for a meeting requires a boss to think objectively, be open-minded about rumors and accusations, look only for the facts. For example: “I have called us together today to discuss the differences you two have, to try to understand what is going on, and to see what we can agree upon going forward. I am concerned for you and how it is affecting our team. I know how committed each of you is to the mission, so I hope we can find some agreement. Are you willing to try?”

 Step 2: Fact Finding: “ I think it might be helpful if you explained what the differences or disagreements are about. I ask each of you to tell us as objectively, clearly and specifically as you can, your perspective on the conflict. Afterward, each of you may ask the other any questions you have. Who would like to go first?” (If this goes well, thank them for their openness and candor. The manager’s job at this point is to push for clarity, remain open-minded and be supportive of the effort.)

Step 3: Describing today’s agenda: “ Now let’s see if we can find some solutions. I would like each of you to think a minute, and then tell us (a) what you admire about the other person, then (b) what you would like to see them do differently, or stop doing, and (c) WHY. After each has finished this part, the other person may ask questions for clarity – no reasons yet, just questions. Are you comfortable doing this? If not, please tell us why.” (Sometimes, just reassurance from the boss – especially for confidentiality – helps the process move on.)

Step 4: Seeking Agreement: This section seeks a list of actions and behaviors that each party might subscribe to that would lessen the tension between the two.  Identify potential points of agreement and areas of disagreement. Push for possible solutions that might satisfactorily resolve the conflict in a constructive way.

Step 5: Verify Solutions: Together, select solutions that meet all parties’ needs. Remember this might require some compromises, but all are aware of the positions taken. Changes can occur as goals are set and reviewed at a later date.

Step 6: Establish an Action Plan:  Each person develops an action plan with specific actions and behaviors that both are willing to take to implement the solutions. Agree to meet again in the not too distant future to review the plan and make any adjustments. Again, thank them for helping solve the conflict and reassure them you are always available to meet further.

Author:  Adrianne Geiger DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

Nonprofit Budgets and Forecasts

Dave Blankenhorn

 

Is the way your organization budgets and makes projections getting the job done?

If not take a look at zero based budgeting and rolling forecasts to improve the accuracy of your results.

Zero-based budgeting (ZBB) is the idea of looking at your expenses from the ground up rather than using your existing figures and adding some percentage. ZBB can reduce general and administrative costs by 10% to 25% if done right.

Another approach to think about is the use of a rolling forecast which allows continuous planning through a number of periods. For instance, if your period is a fiscal year you will always be forecasting 12 months ahead. As one month ends you will add another. You can always add more months.

Rolling forecasts are living documents allowing you to make decisions during the year based on changing information and data. Because you always have 12 months (or what whatever period you choose) you have long term data when you need it or can change your plans for the short term when circumstances demand it.

Rolling forecasts can also give you more accuracy than the traditional budget. By the time you complete a standard budget it is probably already out of date. The rolling budget is more flexible so you respond rapidly to changing conditions. As factors fluctuate you may respond accordingly. The results of adding new expenditures or adding to old ones can immediately be forecast as well as increases or decreases in income.

So if your present system is not what you want it to be give this new approach a try.

Author:  Dave Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org 

Can Your Data Tell a Story?

Adrianne Geiger Dumond

 

 

 

How many of us input data, and never see it again, lacking an effective way to use it? What if the data could tell a compelling story that might inspire others to support the mission? An article on the Stanford Social Innovation Review website provides some recommendations for helping your data tell a story/[1]

 

1. Data storytellers answer a question – “so what”. I recently had a client whose services had added 20 customers for the quarter. That number had no significance until he asked some questions:

  • What percentage is 20 of our customer base?
  • How does this effect our operation?
  • Who needs to know these numbers?

Analysis of the data leads to clarity and to more questions.

2.  The data should inspire us to ask more questions.

Back to the example:

  • What factors contribute to this increase?
  • How does it effect staffing?
  • What external factors are contributing to the increase?
  • How can we portray this information graphically for social media purposes?

3.  The use of rigorous analysis is better than numbers on a page. A concise Executive Summary of the findings from the analysis is a first step.The author, Jake Porway, favors visualization of the data over raw numbers – a graph or pie chart to crystallize understanding for an audience. Porway has several websites in his article for learning more about data visualization. This may be difficult for some IT personnel. But the goal may be worth the investment in order to impress upon donors and volunteers, viewing the media source, that their service and contributions are needed and welcomed.

[1] Three Things Great Data Storytellers Do Differently,  Jake Porway, author, Stanford Social Innovation Review, June 8, 2016

Author:  Adrianne DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

An Executive Director Describes Her Coaching Experience as Transformational

Michael Kogutek, nonprofit management coach

Michael Kogutek

 

At a recent ECofOC meeting, BB Maboby shared information about her organization and coaching experience with John Benner, an ECofOC Coach. She is the ED of the non-profit called  SmileOnU (https://www.smileonu.org).The mission is: “Beyond the basic act of eating, dental health is vital to a person’s overall health and appearance. Knowing that there are people who cannot afford to see a dentist, even when suffering from toothaches, loose teeth, or toothlessness, weighs heavily on us here at SmileOnU. Our mission is to rebuild the smiles of those in need, so that the rebuilding of their lives is that much easier.”

John has coached BB for the last three years. BB describes her coaching  experience with John:

“I remember when I first met John, I asked him why do people have coaches? He said, “because starting a non-profit on your own can be a lonely place”…

I can’t tell you how true this is. A lonely place that which words cannot describe.   It’s been almost 5 years now that I’ve started SmileOnU, a non-profit that provides dental-care to those in need. The first couple of years was all fun, I got to do whatever I wanted it was new and exciting, but then the hard reality of running a non-profit kicks in … The real stuff that keeps an organization running; growth and sustainability– and if I wanted to keep doing what I love; SmileOnU- I will have to sustained this somehow.

Now that I’ve been working with Coach John for a few years; without John’s knowing, just his presence alone that holds me accountable has been one of the most powerful forces in keeping me going at times. John’s reassurance and guidance through the tough times has helped me go through unexpected territories and hurdles of running a start-up non-profit.

John also provides perspective in areas that are uncomfortable for me, that often times holds me back from maximizing SmileOnU’s ability to grow and to serve.

One of my dreams was to be able provide dental-care around world. I’m not sure if I was able to take SmileOnU from providing dental-care domestically to internationally without John’s ability to hold space for me to think creatively and to think BIG about where I see SmileOnU’s place in the community without judgement. I’m happy to say we are now on the verge of sustaining SmileOnU.

Thank you John, for helping me with me create my dream, Sm:)eOnU “ Coaching impacts change. If you are interested in getting a coach, please visit the ECOC website for more information and to apply. The moment and power of change is now!

Author:  Michael Kogutek, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

 

Management and Leadership Skills

Bob Cryer

 

Would you be interested in quickly learning how you might get better results from your nonprofit management and leadership efforts? NonprofitReady.org can deliver some ideas relevant to your interests whenever you are ready, and do it quickly and at no cost to you. Here are some of the most popular of the 47 NonprofitReady.org trainings in the “Personal & Professional Development” category, sub-category “Management and Leadership”.

Becoming a Coaching Manager – Part A This 15-minute online course is designed for managers seeking to improve their ability to coach employees to higher performance. Objectives for Part A and Part B: Identify ideal coaching situations, Explore tools for coaching success, Understand how coaching can assist both individuals and teams within an organization.

Fostering and Maintaining Motivation This 20-minute online course is designed for leaders seeking to improve their motivational skills. Objectives: Identify motivational levers, Undertake effective action to motivate colleagues, Delegate in a motivating and effective manner.

Making Your New Management Position Successful – Part A This 12-minute online course is designed for new managers as well as those looking for a basic refresher on the core principles of management. Objectives for Part A and Part B: Clarify the implications of your new position as manager, Succeed in the first steps of your new position; Identify the key points of delegating.

The Management Styles This 20-minute online course shows how to adopt an effective management style. The course is designed for all levels of managers and team leaders. Objectives: Understand the value and purpose of different management styles and when to apply them, Incorporate the positive aspects of each management style when leading teams, Determine when and how to adapt management styles to different circumstances and colleagues

Essential Skills for New Managers This curriculum will address questions such as: What are the markings of an effective manager?  What knowledge and skillset are essential for great managers to succeed in leading people?  What are the most common pitfalls of managing people?  What are the essential skills that all new managers need to be successful?

5 Levers for Producing Great Leaders This 30-minute online course is designed for anyone seeking to improve their leadership skills. Objectives: Successfully communicate vision, Maintain cooperative relationships, Push for achievement.

Leadership Best Practice This 30-minute online course is designed for senior managers seeking to build the leadership pipelines within their organization. Objectives: Carry out a leadership inventory in your organization, Develop an innovation strategy to cultivate leaders in your organization, Secure collective buy-in of leadership development goals.

Please go to https://www.nonprofitready.org to take a few of these no-cost trainings

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

 

No-cost Nonprofit Training Opportunities

Bob Cryer

 

NonprofitReady.org (NPRO) is a website of 43 interactive E-learning curriculums and 385 online classes and videos on a wide variety of nonprofit best practices, all at no cost to any user.  I took one of the curriculums (Management Essentials) and was impressed with the content and interactive presentation. More importantly, sixty thousand people have used the site in the past year, and six thousand new users join each month.

In my opinion, the more people in a nonprofit who know nonprofit best practices, the more effective that nonprofit is likely to be. NPRO best practice trainings can be accessed at no cost, at any time, from anywhere, for as long a session as the user has time for at that moment. It is, by far, one of the most convenient and cost effective methods that I am aware of for acquiring know-how in nonprofit best practices.

Here is a sampling of a few of NPRO’s most popular online courses, videos and curriculums:

  • Managing Expectations This 8-minute micro-learning online course on managing expectations contains a 3 minute video, quiz, summary document and additional short audio clips. Managing expectations is a crucial part of any professional relationship, from your colleagues to your customers.
  • Managing Your Boss This 8-minute micro-learning online course on managing your boss contains a 2 minute video, quiz, summary document and additional short audio clips. Your boss can have a big impact on the way you do your work, but your actions can also influence their management style.
  • Introduction to Proposal Writing This 27 minute video is designed for anyone involved in the proposal writing process. Course Objectives: • Understand the basic components of writing and submitting a project proposal
  • Introduction to Finding Grants This 30 minute video is designed for anyone seeking to better understand the grant-seeking process. Course Objectives: • Identify the 10 most important things you need to know about grant-seeking • Understand the primary misconceptions about grant-seeking
  • Project Management Essentials – Part A This 20-minute online course is designed for anyone responsible for managing projects and/or programs. Objectives for Part A and Part B: Define the life cycle of a project and structure it around milestones, Control your project using flexible tools, Create a plan for day-to-day project management.
  • Grantsmanship Essentials Pack In this 1 hour and 50 minute curriculum from the Foundation Center, you will learn the basics on how to find grant programs and funders as well as how to write a proposal that aligns with the funder’s criteria. Objectives: To understand how to identify funders aligned with your organizational mission and cause, To articulate what is required in receiving and managing grant funds, To identify the best practices for writing a successful grant proposal.

Please visit NonprofitReady.org to learn more.

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

Management Essentials

Bob Cryer

 

This is a report on my experience with the no-cost Management Essentials curriculum at NonprofitReady.org

The NonprofitReady.org website contains over 400 trainings on nonprofit leadership, fundraising, board governance, program and project management, marketing and PR, volunteer management, administration and operations, HR, etc. Most of the curriculums were developed by Cegos, an international $200M developer of e-learning and blended learning curriculums that are used by a million learners each year. Cegos donated some of their nonprofit e-learning curriculums to NonprofitReady.org, who now offers them at no cost to all nonprofit employees and volunteers.

The Management Essentials curriculum is targeted at mid-level and experienced managers looking to build their skill set. Its objectives are to help them:

  • Become a better decision maker
  • Learn to prioritize information and reduce uncertainties
  • Identify the stakes of a team project and how to best manage them
  • Recognize how to coach both individuals and groups

The curriculum content was robust enough to keep me interested throughout. The presentation used a variety of pop-up animations, texts and graphics to present information and questions, avoiding the tediousness of the many text-based e-learning curriculums. I particularly liked the use of case studies to get you to think about how to apply the ideas, rather than just giving you a quiz to help you remember the ideas.

The curriculum suggests that new employees are typically dependent on their managers and trainers to teach them how to meet basic job requirements. However, if a nonprofit wants to grow in effectiveness, its trained employees must be encouraged to function more autonomously, undertaking projects to improve existing operations or initiate new programs, initially as individual contributors, and eventually as team members and leaders. In order to facilitate this, managers need to learn how to function as coaching managers who mentor independent action, rather than as authoritative managers who encourage employees to continue to be dependent on their manager’s knowhow. This curriculum guides a manager through that transformation.

I encourage all nonprofit employees and volunteers to visit NonprofitReady.org  to try out some of their no-cost curriculums, classes, videos and materials.

If you are a nonprofit manager in Orange County CA who would like a no-cost Executive Coach to work with you on implementing some of the ideas in the Management Essentials curriculum, please contact me at BobCryer@ECofOC.org

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

You Get What You Expect

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer

 

Most of us have probably heard the tongue-in-cheek definition of a crazy person (e.g. someone who keeps doing the same thing, but expects the outcome to improve).

As managers, are we crazy to expect our organization to get better results if we don’t regularly delegate a bit more responsibility with a bit higher expectations to each of our employees, so that they and the results that the organization gets is continually growing ?

Why don’t more managers regularly use the process of delegation to get continual improvement in the results that their organization is able to produce? Isn’t delegating very similar to the familiar processes that nonprofits use to cultivate major donors (e.g. you usually have to develop and make a compelling “ask” in order to get the larger donation).

Stephen Robbins in his classic book “The Truth About Managing People” says in chapter 29 that “You Get What You Expect”. He says that management expectations are like a self-fulfilling prophesy.

If you don’t regularly delegate new responsibilities and expectations to an employee, you are, in effect, telling them that you don’t think they have the potential to be anything more that what they already are. You are likely to get little more than what that employee has always done for your organization.

However, if you treat someone as if they had great potential by taking the time to continually delegate new and interesting opportunities for growth, they are likely to grow to fulfill your high expectations of them.

You get what you expect. And you send that low or high expectation message by how often you take the time to delegate a new and interesting growth opportunity to each employee.

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

The Promise of a Pencil

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer

 

I just finished reading the New York Times bestseller “The Promise of a Pencil”. It is an inspiring story about how a young man, Adam Braun, started up a nonprofit in 2008 with $25 and by 2014 had built 250 elementary schools in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Adam got the idea to do this when he was traveling in India and observed the severe poverty that many of the children lived in. He wanted to help, but didn’t know how. So he started asking children “If you could have anything in the world, what is the one thing you would want most?” One child answered “A pencil”. When challenged by his parents and others, the child persisted. Adam had a #2 yellow pencil in his backpack, and gave it to the child. The child’s face lit up, and he looked at the pencil as if it were a diamond. As Adam asked the question to more impoverished children in each area he traveled to, and he became convinced that what most impoverished children wanted the most was an education. So it became his mission and the mission of his nonprofit startup named “Pencils of Promise” or PoP.

In addition to being and engaging and compelling story, the book describes the many ways that Adam Braun used social media to startup his nonprofit, and then built it into being a major force for good in the community and in the world.

I recommend that nonprofit leaders read this book to inspire us to think big, and to show us how to use social media to help us make those bigger things happen.

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

A Board’s Developmental Responsibilities

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer

 

Last month’s blog outlined a board’s strategic responsibilities. This blog will address their developmental responsibilities.

A nonprofit’s strategic plan typically identifies the measurable goals that the nonprofit’s staff is expected to achieve in the coming year, and the strategies that they will deploy in order to achieve those goal. The Board participates in developing these goals and strategies, but it is the Executive Director and their staff that is primarily accountable for achieving them, and the fiscal objectives defined by the nonprofit’s budget.

This leaves the question “What are the nonprofit board members going to do to help their nonprofit grow and do more of their good work in our community?”

Just as the nonprofit staff should have a strategic plan for growing the nonprofit, their board members should have their plans for what they are going to do to help their nonprofit develop. These development plans generally include board member commitments in two areas:

Outreach: What is each board member going to do in the coming year to make more people aware of the good work that their nonprofit does, and get more people involved in the work of the nonprofit’s committees and their events?

Fundraising: Is each Board member willing to make this nonprofit one of their top three charitable donations? What is each board member planning to do in the coming year to grow the major donor base of the nonprofit and/or increase the giving level of the existing donor base?

A nonprofit’s board chair and its development director should agree on a process for involving all the board members in creating the board’s annual development plan, and how they will follow-up on the progress made during the year.

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org