How Much Hidden Talent is In Your Staff?

Paul Potts is a cell phone salesman in the UK. He's completely unassuming--bad teeth, a little overweight, not much of a dresser. The last person you'd imagine taking the stage as a serious contestant on Britain's Got Talent, the UK version of American Idol. But beneath that quiet exterior is a most amazing voice. It literally gave me chills to listen to him. And it made me wonder how much... Read more →

More Support for a Results Oriented Work Environment

Some more support for the Results Oriented Work Environment I've been spouting off about lately. . . Today's New York Times has an interesting article--Time Wasted? Perhaps It's Well Spent. It notes: American workers, on average, spend 45 hours a week at work, but describe 16 of those hours as “unproductive,” according to a study by Microsoft. America Online and, in turn, determined that workers actually work a total... Read more →

Attracting Older Workers to the Nonprofit Sector

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is reporting today that nonprofit agencies lag behind business and government agencies in attracting older workers: Nonprofit groups lag significantly behind government agencies and businesses in their efforts to keep and recruit older workers, a new report concludes. "Many nonprofit leaders, boards, and funders show little interest in developing programs to attract and retain older adults as experienced executives, staff personnel, or volunteers in new, more... Read more →

Creating a Learning Climate for Nonprofit Staff

Awhile ago, Allan Benamer of the Nonprofit Tech Blog talked about nonprofit staff as knowledge workers and how technology and work processes need to support staff whose value comes primarily from their ability to make effective use of knowledge and information in working with customers. If we're to fully capitalize on the promise of a knowledge network, then staff need to have the tools, resources and supports necessary to truly... Read more →

Some Lessons From Biology

A few weeks ago, I was helping my 14-year old daughter study for her biology final. We spent quite a bit of time on genetics and evolution, including Gregor Mendel and principles of biodiversity. As serendipity would have it, around the same time I read a Kathy Sierra post on the need to add a little randomness to our lives. And it's had me thinking ever since. . . In... Read more →

We Need More Passion for the Work, Not the Organization

Kathy Sierra, one of my favorite bloggers, posted the other day about passion at work. She argues that we shouldn't be asking employees to feel passionate about the organization they work for, but the work that they do. What does it mean for me to be passionate about my work, as opposed to passionate about my organization? A passion for work means that: I'm committed to principles of excellence and... Read more →

5 Reasons You Don't Need Training

When management finds that staff are not engaging in work behaviors desired by the organization, they often turn to training as the response for "fixing" the problem. But training frequently isn't the answer. In this post I want to share 5 situations that won't be resolved by training: 1. To Make Up for Poorly Designed Work Processes--Many organizations have poorly designed work processes and customer flow. These processes have often... Read more →

It's Not Just About "Good Enough," It's About Empowerment

My post earlier this week on disruptive innovations and "good enough" solutions sparked an interesting response from Niels Unis: "Bamboo gives the example of micro-lending which has changed many people’s lives. What is so effective about micro-lending, among other things, is that it empowers people to change their own lives finding solutions in situations that they know and understand. This empowerment, however, is a radical idea, and much more than... Read more →

Creating Nonprofit Skill Networks

Lately I've been exploring the concepts of nonprofit networks here, what it takes to form and nurture connections among various nonprofits and between nonprofits and individuals. We've talked about building connectivity networks that link people to people, affinity networks that reinforce commonalities among network members and production networks that move affinities into collective action. The other day I was researching learning management systems for a client interested in tracking staff... Read more →

Nonprofit Networks Part Three: Using Technology to Build Connectivity

Yesterday we discussed connectivity networks and how they are the foundation of all collaborations. As you'll recall, connectivity networks link people to people and people to information. They are characterized by loose ties between people and they tend to form around "hubs" or people who are able to connect people to other people and to relevant information. All networks, especially connectivity networks, are strengthened by face-to-face interactions. These in-person connections... Read more →