By: Bennett Napier, CAE
The lifeblood of nonprofit organizations (whether they are charitable or associations) depends on the skills, passion and teamwork of the staff to execute programs and services in order to achieve mission.
Our firm recognized this fact a number of years ago and launched a comprehensive process to address several key areas:
- Organizational Culture
- Infrastructure and Organizational Charts (Seats on the Bus)
- Proper Alignment of organizational goals and employee goals
Rather than create a process of principles from scratch, through consultation, with our outside consulting firm, Catch Your Limit, our firm used the framework in the book and the accompanying field guide, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni. This book provided easy to follow timelines and exercises to keep the process moving forward.
Going down the road of “cultural exploration” can be scary at first and there are some lessons learned we can share from our experience:
- Tone is set at the top. If your management team is not on the same page and advocating the process and the objectives behind such a process, the road will be long and bumpy. Focus on their buy in first before an organization wide roll out.
- Make the goals line up with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely). You need the ability to achieve small wins in the short term, schedule those first to build up to more lofty pursuits.
- Be patient. People will buy into the process at different stages, don’t give up. Nothing as important as cultural change happens overnight.
Here are a few other resources that can help with such a process:
- The Change Monster provides your team with a formal outline of what the organization will go through, it helps to minimize anxiety and provide context.
- Use personality/communication style tools to highlight staff strengths and perspectives. Two that are recommended are http://www.ipersonic.com/ or https://truecolorsintl.com/
- Six Thinking Hats provided our staff with parameters for discussions and provided additional tools to utilize when collaborating.
Good luck on your journey in 2016.