Resource Library

February 01, 2019

A Nose for Strategy

Strategy is all around us. We are conditioned to look for strategy in the formal strategic plan. Sometimes, however, strategy is embedded in other documents that we don’t think of as being strategic in nature. A budget, for example, reveals priorities; and priorities are the stuff of strategy. There must be a reason that you […]

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January 22, 2019

When is it Strategy?

I often struggle to help nonprofits differentiate between what is important and what is strategic. I know from experience that recognizing that is one is not synonymous with the other can be the difference between a positive experience and yet another frustrating attempt at strategic planning. But how do you help someone whose daily existence […]

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February 28, 2018

Inspiration…From the Inside Out

I’ll begin with a confession. I harbor mild contempt for individuals who anoint themselves as being inspirational or motivational. Talk about heightened self-promotion. Part of my skepticism stems from my wholesale rejection of the core message of the self-esteem industry. Namely, the ability to reach your full potential seems to depend on your ability to […]

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October 17, 2017

From the Inside Out: An Autobiography

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” — Benjamin Franklin The phrase “from the inside out” is popular these days, more so that I realized when I chose the title for my book on nonprofit strategy. Books have been written under this heading on such diverse topics as parenting, leadership, student grading, […]

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August 29, 2017

Strategy Made Simple

There is a certain elegance in the simple presentation of a complex idea. From science, we know that E equals MC squared. And from the Old Testament were are instructed to love kindness, seek justice, and walk humbly. Easy to understand in both cases, but equally profound in their implications. When it comes to strategic planning, I doubt […]

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August 01, 2017

The Most Misunderstood Word in the Nonprofit Sector

Okay, I’ll spare you the drama. The word is STRATEGY. Too many nonprofit boards and executives do not know what it is, why it matters, or how it works in the nonprofit sector. Consequently, the terms strategy, along with its adjective cousin strategic, lack the fixed meaning that prevents them from being employed as a […]

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February 17, 2017

Book Announcement

I am pleased – and relieved – to announce that my book, Strategy from the Inside Out, will be available soon. After several years of writing, months of simmering, and several rounds of edits, I have what I believe is an alternative approach to strategy that is sensitive to the unique characteristics of the nonprofit […]

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August 07, 2016

Vulnerability: A Deeper Dive Into the Nonprofit Funding Challenge

Sustainability is understood generally as a measure of the ability of an organization to create mission impact without depleting its human and financial resources. As noted by Masaoka and her colleagues, sustainability is not a destination, but an orientation. In other words, there is no finish line in the journey toward financial viability. To appreciate […]

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June 28, 2016

“I Don’t Know Quite How to Say This”: The Language of Strategy

Words matter. More specifically, the meaning that we attach to words matter. The psychologist Lev Vygotsky, in a seminal work in the area of cognitive science, first introduced the idea that language – the words we use to communicate – shapes the form and scope of our internal thoughts. While there have been variations on […]

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April 13, 2016

The Sociological Imagination: How to Build a Culture of Board Governance

Sometimes, we need a wider lens to get a fuller view of the landscape. If we want to capture the vastness of the forest, for example, a close-up image of a single tree will not provide the proper perspective. Whatever the object, if we zoom in too tightly, we have no context for understanding the […]

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