Resiliency: A Diagnostic for Success by Steve Stanton (Part 2)

Part one of this blog attempted to make the case for nonprofit resiliency. Here Steve Stanton shares a diagnostic model for organizational resilience based on seven core elements.

  1. A Clear Organizational Identity: Are we aligned as to who we are? Do we have continuous and aligned focus and flexibility on core issues?
    • Relevant Mission: Is it clear why we are here and what our core purpose is?
    • Vision: Can we articulate what our eventual success will look like?
    • Strategic Plan: Do we know what the organization’s critical goals, actions, and measures are? Is the plan continuously renewed? Do we know what to stop and when to say NO?
    • Measurement Scorecard: Do we know what data is important and can we get it in a way that informs all work and workers?
    • Continuity: Do we have a shared understanding of what should change and what should remain?
  1. A Culture of Purpose with Values that are Real: Are we bringing out the best in everyone? Does work here have meaning?
    • Are our values real or aspirational?
    • Do we take Honesty, Safety, Diversity, and Inclusion seriously or are they lip service?
    • Do we operate outside in by placing our clients/customers/patients first?
    • Does collaboration occur at all levels in our organization from the board to the front lines?
    • Do we really support curiosity, creativity, and experimentation as ways to continuously learn and evolve?
    • Do we actually have the courage to change when the times require it?
    • Are our values inculcated in job descriptions and work design?
  1. Do we have Effective Governance: Are we making smart decisions?
    • Board of Directors:
      • Are they committed, active at the right altitude, engaged and generous?
      • Do they accept the responsibility of ED oversight?
      • Do we have an appropriate committee structure? (Executive, Finance, Development, Programs)
      • Do we have a board member pipeline with serious candidates?
      • Do we have a succession plan in place for the board’s executives?
    • Executive Director:
      • Are they operating as both a leader and manager?
      • Do they spend enough time on fund raising? Staff development?
      • Do we have a succession plan in place?
    • Senior leadership team:
      • Are they aligned, capable, committed, and not territorial?
      • Do we have succession plans in place for key leaders?
      • Do we have realistic and data driven program, unit, and financial plans?
  1. Do we operate “in service” our Customer/Clients/Patients?
    • Are the intended outcomes for our programs and services clearly defined? Are metrics in place to help us understand that impact?
    • Do we take customer feedback seriously and do we have mechanisms to get and use their responses on a continuous basis?
    • Do we have a well-defined program architecture?
    • Are we actively monitoring our market to sense impending changes?
    • Are we in dialogue with our peers on behalf of our customers? Do we collaborate often and share best practices?
    • Do we have excellent community relationships?
  1. Do we have a smooth-running operations engine?
    • Is our operating model integrated or fragmented by “silos”?
    • Is our structure lean and consistent with our mission and values?
    • Are our management systems simple, effective, and consistent with our mission and values?
    • Are our support activities (HR, IT, Finance) providing good value?
    • Do we operate with clearly defined scorecards (operational and outcome metrics) at all levels of our organization?
    • Do we have the capabilities and capacities to continuously improve?
  1. Can we maintain a strong staff?
    • Do we know what capabilities we need, and do we have them?
    • Do we take employee engagement seriously?
    • Are we consistently retaining key staff members?
    • Are we investing in both staff training and education?
    • Do we consistently ask for and get honest feedback from our staff?
  1. Do we have the necessary resources to operate now and into the future?
    • Do we possess adequate financial reserves?
    • Do we need an earned income plan? If so, do we have one?
    • Is our Philanthropy plan well designed, with clear ownership and responsibilities, and is it measured?
    • Are our funder relationships in good shape?
    • Do we have income diversity in terms of sources?
    • Do we have strong board participation and ownership in development?

Steve Stanton and the Interim Executive Solutions team can help your organization assess these core elements and evaluate your resiliency. Connect with us to set up a free introductory consultation.

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