People Matter: Part 1 – Effective Non-Profit Leadership

Competitive advantage, strategic priorities, operational efficiencies . . . all these things matter.  They may not be the language we always use in the non-profit sector but we think about them.  Underneath all of it though, people matter.  We know this, it’s why we serve in the first place; we want to help people – even within your organization it is the people who matter.

How do we balance the emphasis on people and the need to deliver advantage, strategy and efficiency?  In his book, The Future of Management, Gary Hamel says,

‘it really is possible to set the human spirit free at work’.

Is that the emphasis and all things flow from that, setting our people free at work?  There is the role that leadership plays called – setting and aligning strategic direction.  Without it our people who matter only have the opportunity to wander around aimlessly.  We do need to come together for a purpose after all.  If we agree then the first step of strategic direction is creation of

  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Values

These three things are the thing culture is made of.  The second step in alignment is developing – goals and the business case – for what we do and why we do it.  Obviously we don’t set goals in isolation but we are talking about the macro-goals of the organization, the where we want to go and the main way(s) we are going to get there.

The third responsibility is to identify – performance standards.  We need to know when we get there.  We need to be able to measure success and accomplishment.  This third is a basic human need for achievement.  We all have it and it drives us to improve, to be better, to do more . . . and in the non-profit sector isn’t that what we want?

To solve/eradicate the issues we are passionate about because … people matter!


If Setting and Aligning Strategic Direction is something your organization is working on right now, please do not hesitate to call Jeff D’Silva – Manager, Consulting – @ 403-231-1431 or email jdsilva@propellus.org.

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