Last night I had the privilege of being invited to a non-profit organization’s year-end holiday party stewardship event. In attendance were board members, capital campaign volunteers, auxiliary members, and various other stakeholders. There was no solicitation presentations, but there were a few powerful testimonials from alumni and lots of gratitude. The energy in the room was palpable, and I was reminded me of the old expression that “hope floats“. It was in this dynamic setting that I had an amazing conversation with someone about the power of leadership.
In the middle of the event, I got locked into a conversation with a former board member. He is an alumnus of the agency’s programs, and he did two different stints on the board of directors. So, the conversation naturally migrated to how much the organization has changed throughout the many decades he has been involved.
Right in the middle of the conversation about organizational change and capacity building, this gentleman paused, appeared to reflect genuinely about what he was going to say, and then said:
“It is all about leadership and who the board hires to lead the organization.”
While I like to think your organization’s formula for success is about a variety of ingredients, I can’t really argue with this wise alumni and former board member’s assessment. I’ve seen lots of organizations overcome large gaps in their formula for success just because they have the right leaders sitting around the boardroom table and sitting in the CEO’s seat.
This comment also got me thinking about a recent CEO job search process that I helped a client lead. There was lots of conversation around “what does the right person look like” and what skill sets and experiences does the right person need to possess.
The following is a list of competencies and skill sets the search committee reviewed during its search criteria conversations:
Decision making skills
- Fact Finding
- Problem Solving
- Systemic Thinking
Developing Organizational Talent
- Performance Management
- Providing Feedback
- Staff Development
- Developing Commitment
- Encouraging Innovation
- Leading By Example
- Managing Change
- Providing Recognition
- Team Building
Personal Initiation Skills
- Contributing to a Positive Work Environment
- Organizational Awareness
- Personal Development
- Professional Development
- Striving for Excellence
- Action Planning & Organizing
- Business Planning
- Project Management
- Strategic Planning
- Time Management
- Implementing Quality Improvements
- Satisfying Customer Requirements
- Using Meaningful Measurements
- Conflict Management
- Meeting Skills
- Relationship Building
Safety, Health & Environment Skills
- Fostering Organizational Wellness
- Supporting a Safe Environment
Hmmmm? Leadership is the great equalizer, but it certainly starts looking complicated once you begin searching for it. 🙂
What skill sets have you looked for when trying to hire or recruit the right leaders into your non-profit organization? Please use the comment box below to share your thoughts and experiences.
Here’s to your health!
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC