Newsletter – September 21, 2017

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A ridiculously simple way to make hard decisions easier (and a new look!)

Dear Friends,

So many managers we work with are facing hard decisions, like whether to add new programs, who to hire, or how to focus their efforts. And if you’re like me, it’s easy to get stuck between two seemingly stark choices, neither of which is ideal and both of which generate strong opinions from your team. If that sounds like you, you might enjoy the “pros-cons-mitigations” tool below. The concept behind it is almost embarrassingly simple, but I personally have found it incredibly helpful lately!

More broadly, these are such scary times that it feels shallow to write about the electronic version of getting our hair done (and those of you who have met me know that’s the only way I’m getting my hair done!). But here goes: you’ll notice that this newsletter has a new look! Let us know what you think at And no matter what, know that we’re thinking of you and standing ready to help you in our efforts to get this world of ours on the path to justice!


Jerry Hauser

Stuff You Can Use


Making tough decisions? Get in the habit of engaging your team using this ridiculously simple table. It looks painfully obvious, but in practice we think it might be revolutionary. The “mitigations” row is a great way to get beyond “either-or” thinking and to come up with better approaches. It also enables a much broader range of voices – including across differences in identity and position in your organization – to contribute to decisions. Full disclosure: we stole/adapted it from here.

Download this simple tool.

The Key to Hiring Faster

It’s a vicious cycle: when you are down a staff member, it’s hard to find the time to hire the people to fill your team. And the fear of a wrong decision can slow hiring down even more. We thought that a new mantra of “Fast to hire, quick to inspire” from the article below was especially on target. Check out these three tips to get you there: build a pipeline of ready-to-hire talent, design experiential interviews, and inspire new staff to do their best with clear expectations and support.

Learn how to hire faster.

Blast From the Past

“I’m sure you’re all wondering why I brought you here today.”

In addition to using the “pros-cons-mitigations” table above, you’ll have much better luck in your decision-making if your team is clear about where you are in the process. Are you hoping to make a joint decision with everyone today? Or are you trying to explain the logic behind a course of action that you’ve already decided on? Or, our favorite, have you done some thinking and are you in “test mode,” where you have proposals to get input on before you go back and make a final decision? The framework below helps you know and articulate transparently which mode you’re in, which can lead to better decisions and more happiness all-around!

Check out the framework.

Community Tidbit

“At the end of every workday, I look at my large to do list and quickly jot down on a post-it the top 3 things that I absolutely have to get done tomorrow. I then attach it to the top of my computer monitor. That way, when I start work the next morning, I immediately know where to begin before I even turn my computer on and get sucked into all of the new tasks that will come at me.” — Megan Fowler, Communications Consultant

Do you have a quick-and-easy management tip to share? Email your tidbit to
If we use it, we’ll send you a $25 Starbucks gift card!

Management Mavens

Changing the Narrative on Diversity in Leadership

An important report released this spring from the Building Movement Project looks at why the percentage of leaders of color in nonprofit organizations remains so low. The report challenges perceptions that the issues lie with the candidate pool, in terms of lack of interest or lack of preparation among would-be candidates of color. Using data from a large-scale survey, the report argues that rather than focusing on the candidate pool, the sector needs to look more at structural issues and widespread biases, including among those who are hiring for senior roles.

As the report argues, “Offering people of color supports to advance their leadership is important, especially given the racial bias they are likely to encounter. However, as many people of color already know, training will not succeed in moving the dial without a simultaneous and widespread effort to target those governing organizations, challenging the norms and assumptions about race that are deeply embedded in the nonprofit sector and in our society at large.”

Download the report.

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