The United Way recently released a survey of nonprofits, identifying the issues facing nonprofits. I will list some of them, and then describe some behaviors that we, as leaders and managers, subconsciously do to sabotage innovation.
Issues Facing Nonprofits:
- Difficulty to change and be flexible;
- Looking and thinking beyond what they have walking though the door every day
- Being sustainable;
- Lack of collaborative spirit; Many only see and value what they do;
- Collaborate in short term because it seems convenient;
- Flexibility, ability to adapt to policy changes;
- Personnel turnover;
- Clear succession planning.
Behaviors that Stifle Innovation
- Not evaluating a creative idea thoroughly: don’t commit the necessary resources or systems;
- Confining innovation to R & D;
- Forcing structure and hierarchy;
- Pushing a top-down approach;
- Criticizing first; not praising the effort to be creative;
- Rejecting ambiguity
- Acting like a know-it-all.
Innovation surrounds us, even when we choose not to acknowledge it. Innovation supports the precept that leaders must be “transformational” (comfortable with change) rather than “transactional” ( conducting business as usual). I have a distinguished coach colleague, Ernest Stambouly, a high-technology expert who has written extensively about ongoing rapid change in technology, and what it means for nonprofits and social enterprises – now and for the future. In his blog “Modern Technologies Hold a Promising Outlook for the Nonprofit”, he shares how innovation will no longer be confined to corporate R&D but will be the power tool for the transformational leader in the nonprofit. I encourage you to read it at http://ecofoc.org/category/by-author/ernest-stambouly/.
 9 Ways Leaders Subconsciously Sabotage Innovation, the Center for Creative Leadership newsletter, July 31, 2018
Author: Adrianne Geiger DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org