Newsletter – May 7, 2013

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Getting people to take ownership, board accountability, “guilt hour,” and more

Hello friends,

If you haven’t checked out our new batch of management trainings yet, I hope you will. And if you can’t make it to one, well, the batch of resources below won’t make up for it … but they’ll still help!

Here’s what we have for you this month:

1. How to transfer ownership to your staff members

A reader asked us: “I have a staff member who does a good job when I tell her what to do, but figuring out what she should be doing takes a lot of my energy. I wish she would take things and run with them more often, but I’m not sure how to get that to happen.”

When it’s falling to you to figure out what a staff member should be doing while the staff member herself simply executes those ideas, the issue is often that you haven’t made her responsible for taking ownership and driving forward the work in her realm. We’ve posted some tips on how to do that here.

2. When a staff member is trying hard but not performing

Letting someone go is always tough, but it’s even harder when the staff member has truly been trying hard to succeed. In this piece, our own Alison Green offers advice for how to talk honestly with a staff member who is working hard but not getting the results you need.

3. What strong, well-written goals look like in real life

When you’re having trouble writing concrete, measurable goals, it can be helpful to look at how other groups have successfully worded their own goals. Our goals bank can help; it’s a compilation of real-life goals – ones that we think are great – from a variety of organizations, covering nearly every area you might need, from organizing to communications to operations and much more. You can download it here.

4. Helping boards stay accountable

Staff members have performance evaluations (hopefully!), but what about board members? There aren’t many tools out there to help board members reflect on each other’s contributions, but this form can provide a structure for that process. (The form is designed to be administered by a board chair and is for internal board use only.)

5. Get your team unstuck with “guilt hour”

Feeling guilty about work you’re never getting to? Try “guilt hour” from The Action Mill. At a weekly team meeting, everyone publicly identifies the undone task they feel most guilty about putting off, and then commits to spending the rest of the hour tackling the task they named. Nick Jehlen writes: “After a few months of Guilt Hour, we started having trouble coming up with Guilty Tasks every week, but we stick with it: worst case scenario is we all go back to doing something useful. Taking five minutes a week to ensure that none of us is wasting time feeling guilty is well worth it. By 11 a.m. every Wednesday, and usually a lot sooner, our whole team is feeling a lot less stuck.”

We hope you find these resources helpful!


Jerry Hauser and Alison Green
The Management Center

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