[00:00:31] Patrick: All right, so this is, I'm going to say technically our first episode of the year. I did an episode right after the first of the year that was a solo episode to kind of share with everyone my lessons learned in 2023 and what I intended to carry over in 2024. And so you were just stuck with me. This is the first good content episode of 2024 and I'm really excited about it. I've got a couple of friends and colleagues and superstars on the show today. Let me start by just giving a brief introduction, then I'm going to bring them in more thoroughly. We've got Jenny Waller, who is the head of a consultancy called capacity to dream, which I absolutely love.
How do I introduce know? She's one of those that you go through the introduction and then you say, all right, what don't you do? What haven't you done? Like, she's a facilitator and a podcaster and a consultant and a lawyer.
She just has a ton of resource and talent and experience and expertise. And she brings it to the social sector. She brings it to the nonprofit sector with just a high level of quality and relevance and skill. And you're going to see what I'm talking about here in just a little bit. And then we have Colleen Bozard, who has been around the nonprofit consulting world for a little while now. She is a board source certified governance trainer. Lots of our listeners on this show know who board source is. She's a certified governance trainer with them. She's a senior consultant with the Georgia center for Nonprofits and she has done a ton of work. Colleen, I want to say, you were even in the, were you one of the co founders of Together SC back when it was Scanpo? Were you in you.
[00:02:27] Colleen: So I was working with them in the early. Yes. Patrick.
[00:02:31] Patrick: Yeah, yeah. Well, Colleen also serves with me on the leadership team of the consultant collaborative of our state nonprofit association here in my home state of South Carolina. So we're spread all over up in the DC area, over in Georgia, here in South Carolina. But Jenny and Colleen, I'm thrilled to have you. I want you each to introduce yourselves a little more. But thank you so much for reaching out and connecting. And I'm excited to talk about this project you all got going, but thanks for coming to the show.
[00:03:04] Ginny: Thanks for having us here. Patrick, I'm super excited to talk to you. Also, I plan on taking you on tour with me since that introduction was awesome and I'm kind of wondering who you were talking know, I don't know that there's much to add. I am a bit of a jack of all trades, but nonprofit is where my heart lies. And I ran a nonprofit in South Carolina for a little over nine years and then opened my own practice and doing interim management work as well as change management overall. So strategic planning, executive coaching, depending on where an organization is and its cycle.
And as you said, I'm based in the DC area because my husband's military and we go where the army tells us. But I love my South Carolina folks and I love working with them and love to continue those relationships that I had back.
[00:04:00] Patrick: Well, you're. I've been impressed with how connected you remain. I mean, it's almost like you're not in the DC area. You're very present here in our state, and you do that very well. Colleen, what did I miss about you? What do we need to know about you and your work that you're doing?
[00:04:17] Colleen: Patrick, I am so excited to be with you and with Jenny today. Wow. What incredible folks to be hanging out with this afternoon.
Not a whole lot. You didn't miss a whole lot, I guess. I started working in the nonprofit sector as an executive director for three different nonprofits. Each one was in a different life cycle where one was a brand new startup, and one time I was following a founder, which provide kinds of interesting challenges and opportunities in doing that. And then I moved from being an executive director to a consultant. And I've been doing that for almost 25 years, really focusing on how to build strong boards to support the mission of nonprofit organizations. I do a lot of strategic planning, of course, and then have been working in interim leadership for a very long time where I can step in and be an interim director nonprofit when they lose theirs, whether it's planned or unplanned, and help the organization navigate through that transition. And that's really been an incredibly rewarding part of my consultancy, to be really frank.
[00:05:29] Patrick: For those of you interested in knowing more about that work, go back to episode 80 on this show. Colleen was my guest and really helped us see her work in both interim leadership and in succession planning. And I will tell you, I'll give you a quick preview of that and tease that episode out a little bit. Colleen takes a slightly different approach to interim leadership than I think a lot of organizations think about. It's a more strategic and visionary approach than we normally think of someone who, just, as we said, makes sure that the alarm system is set at night and people are paid. So go back and listen to that episode, and there really is a high level of expertise there. So, Colleen, you're like a superstar. You're a repeat guest on this show. That's how good you are. Jenny will be, too, though. Don't worry. So we're going to talk a little bit today about rising ceos in the nonprofit sector, aspiring ceos, brand new ceos in the nonprofit sector. And we're going to talk a little bit later about what sort of drove my attraction to having you on in this particular case is you have co developed a program called to be honest, which is an online intensive for new nonprofit ceos. But before we get into how to access that course and who that audience might be, I thought it would just be good. Let's just have a conversation about it. What brought this on? What prompted this? Let's just start there. What prompted your intent to build such a course? Where did this come from? Jenny, you're hosting this course on your site, and so I'm going to start with you. And then, Colleen, fill in wherever you want. But what drove this product?
[00:07:25] Ginny: Well, Patrick, as Colleen mentioned, she does a lot of interim management work and coming in during leadership transitions. And Colleen and I actually have worked together on a number of them.
We have done some as co directors, we've done a few that one of us was doing the executive search and the other one came in as interim management. But we've worked together on several. And part of what we do, as you indicated, was we really look at more of the strategic direction of the organization. We come in not just to turn the lights on, but to help an organization identify where its gaps are and to help fix that before the new executive director comes on board. In theory that we're basically preparing the organization to be in a really strong foundational form so that the executive director can be set up for success.
What is also included in that is that we will create basically a performance plan and onboarding plan. So a bridge plan for this new executive director. And part of the bridge plan is identifying where they may have some gap areas themselves professionally. Right. And we want to make sure that those individuals are set up for success, both in their roles with the organization, but also as individuals, as humans coming into this new job. One of the things that we were seeing repetitively were people coming into the nonprofit sector as leaders who do not have nonprofit background necessarily, who may be coming from the private sector, who are extremely successful in their own right and are high level c suite execs, but they've not worked, particularly in nonprofit. And you have to gently kind of let them know that that's a very different animal. And so Colleen and I were trying to find trainings. What's out there for these really high level folks? We don't want to be insulting to them, but we do want them to be successful. And we were having a hard time finding things that were available when we needed them, when we were onboarding these new eds, and we were finding things like different conferences and things that would go on at certain times of the year where they would have to go for maybe one day a week for six weeks in person, but only available maybe four months after the hire. Well, that's too late. We wanted to get them right when they started. And so essentially, we couldn't find, you know, Colleen and I being who we are, we're like, well, we'll just create something. We look back at that and I think we wonder, what were we thinking? That seemed so easy at the time. But that's really kind of the story of it, is we created what we needed to fill a.
[00:10:16] Patrick: Colleen, as Jenny's talking, I'm realizing again just how unique this program that you've put together is. I mean, there's on demand online courses in all kinds of topics, including leadership. I've got several of them.
But this is different because in this way, you are able to be a responsive, onboarding partner with an organization to help them onboard a new. What a great gift for a board of directors to know, hey, this is the first thing we're going to invest in for our new CEO. So I would imagine you want to get to boards with this product, maybe even during this time of transition.
[00:10:58] Colleen: Absolutely, Patrick. In fact, one of the things Jenny and I were encountering as we were helping support executive searches for nonprofits is that boards would tend to shy away from folks who had not worked in the nonprofit arena before because they didn't understand how some of those skills and areas of expertise could be modified to work in sector. And so having a tool such as this program really helps assure them that a person who's coming in with strong leadership, maybe in great marketing, has great marketing skills, has great connections in the community, can make that transition into the nonprofit sector much easier because they've been able to have access to this program.
[00:11:47] Patrick: Yeah. And again, it is unique. Now, I've done a lot of one on one executive coaching with a new CEO. This is a very different product because this is, I'm sure you do some coaching because I think, Colleen, at least I know you enough to know that you've got a coaching mindset with people and you do coaching, but this is training as well. I mean, this gets into some competency, building and drawing awareness to the kinds of things that a CEO will need to pay attention to. This isn't just about having a supportive coach nearby.
[00:12:20] Colleen: Right. So we're doing, actually has the basic nonprofit fundamentals, the five areas that we think are critical for any CEO coming into brand new as a nonprofit leader needs to know those kind of those basic fundamentals that are, as you said, patrick, training and education.
That's really needed. But as well as they have access to peer networking, they have access to resources. And so it is, it's a nice little package.
[00:12:49] Patrick: Yep. And because it's online, it's available anywhere. I mean, you don't have to be in DC or South Carolina or Georgia or whatever to go through it. The entire thing is the entire, I'm, I'm interested in getting a little bit of what this course contains, and we'll just kind of do it more as, let's just talk about our observations of what do new ceos need to consider or even aspiring ceos. I know a lot of, I'm coaching a lot of senior leaders who are thinking about maybe becoming a CEO or might be next in line in their organization. But as a new CEO, what would you say are the top things that a new CEO really needs to know? You mentioned five areas of nonprofit work. Is that what it is, or are there other sort of tenets of, hey, look, here's the top things we think new nonprofit ceos need to be considering.
[00:13:51] Ginny: So one of the big things is we're coming into organizations that are going, and these new executive directors are coming into organizations that are going through significant transition. Whether it was planned unplanned or not, there is some major change that is going on within that organization. And along with that comes kind of a lot of baggage. Right? I mean, you go into a relationship, you're dating someone, they've come with baggage. We all do. And the same goes for organizations. And one of the chief skills that I think many people, especially leaders, when they come into an organization, they want to come in and fix it. They want to come in and change it and really we actually tell, Colleen and I both tell our clients when they're coming in, don't change anything in that first 90 days. Don't touch it. Do not touch the organization. It's your opportunity to really understand the organization in a way that is going to be very clear to you where the trauma is, where the baggage is, that's really brought this organization to where it is today. What that impact of that organizational trauma has done to the organization, whether it's communication on team trust between the staff and the board, which we know is a huge issue, whether it's productivity issues or efficiency within programs or even stability among the power dynamic with the team. So we really want our new eds to come in looking at this change management and what that means. How do you lead through change when change is as stressful as it can be?
[00:15:32] Patrick: Let me just challenge that a little bit or question a little bit further. We always talk about change management as twofold. One is change that I'm trying to create, I'm initiating change. The other is I'm responding to and adapting to some external change that it's happening to me. Both are change management. When you say, and I've heard this, it has been a general rule, I was advised exactly what you just said. 90 days. Exactly. My first CEO role. I had a mentor tell me, don't do anything for 90 days. Listen, observe, watch, figure things out.
Aren't there exceptions to that, though?
You talked about culture and inside the organization.
If there's something real toxic in terms of a person that needs to go or there's a big financial mess that needs to be worked on, what are the exceptions to that? 90. I get the 90 days conceptually, but how do you balance that? I'm not going to touch anything with.
There's things right now that do need attention.
[00:16:40] Colleen: Yeah, Jenny, I wanted to say that one of the things that we really stress in the program is the understanding that there are actually three phases of transition or three phases of change. And the first change that a new CEO coming in has to remember is that it's the endings, and they have to recognize and support the staff and employees as they are learning to let go what used to be right. But then the second one is the neutral zone, and that's a wonderful opportunity there to be able to implement some change because it allows for creativity. We can challenge some of the stuff that's working, some of the stuff that's not working, how can we modify? And so that's a great time to do what you were talking about in terms of making those changes. And when Jenny and I come in and do interim leadership, a lot of the work we do, she talked about is that we kind of come in and do an assessment and help build a stronger foundation for the new CEO coming in. So oftentimes if you come in when there's been an interim, some of those immediate things that you're talking about, like so and so needs to be fired or such and such needs to be changed, that's hopefully by the time you come in, so you've got a little bit of a stronger foundation to be able to do that, step back and really do your own assessment and figure out how things are going and then start moving into that second phase of change, which is that neutral zone.
[00:18:08] Ginny: Yeah, I'll add to that. Obviously. Yes, we want to get those things done. But if you are an executive director coming into an organization that hasn't had interim leadership to make those hard choices and to kind of clean up and put out the fires before you come on board, there's what is best practice, Patrick? And then there's what reality. Right. And we know that sometimes they're going to have to be some hard decisions made. I mean, that's just practical. So while we'll say, listen, don't do this in 90 days, if you call me and you say, I've got a toxic employee who is burning down my house, I'm going to say, what are you waiting for? And so that's actually something I'm really glad you brought up because over and over and over in the training talk about this, here's best practice. Oh, and here's reality.
[00:18:57] Patrick: That's good.
[00:18:58] Ginny: A lot of that. Right. Because that's just, I mean, we all know how it really works on the ground can be very different, realistically from your best practice.
[00:19:08] Patrick: Yeah, that's absolutely right. I hear it from my coaches all the time. We'll talk about a good tenant and they'll say, well, that's all well and good, but here's what's happening. So I like that.
What would you say for new ceos? And you hinted at this a little bit already with CEOs that are coming into the nonprofit sector from maybe the business sector, but what do you find are the big surprises? Somebody gets on the ground, they're all excited, oh, I got this. I can do this. I'm qualified. I'm the new CEO of the Acme nonprofit organization. And then, whoa, I didn't know this.
What are some of those big surprises you think new ceos face in the sector or just as new ceos, period. But specifically in the.
[00:19:59] Colleen: So, Patrick, the first thing that pops into my head is how important the relationships are with the people. I think oftentimes new folks coming in really don't have a good sense of the importance of the relationship with their board and their board members and how important that is to the work that they do, that they're not alone, that they've got partners that are going to help them carry out the mission.
And a lot of times we see ceos come in where they do feel like they're alone.
I think it's really important that that gets stressed immediately when you've got a new CEO coming in to the board, to the CEO, you guys are partners and you got to work on this together to make this a successful transition. So a lot of times, if you're coming from outside the nonprofit sector, have that kind of experience of having to work with that board.
[00:20:57] Ginny: Yeah, that's a great point. I think even one step further with relationships is, I think, the surprises of relationships that have not gone well in the community for this organization that's probably been around a long time, there are burned bridges and surprises behind every door. And I think that was the biggest thing that was surprising for me is I thought, oh, I'm doing so much good. I'm going into working this nonprofit and I'm going to fix everything and I'm going to make it better. And suddenly I found myself on this apology tour where I was having to go from one person to the next to say, I know that's how we were, and I'm so sorry, and we're going to do better next time, and we're different now.
And not getting frustrated about the fact that they didn't believe me. I had to prove it and show it repeatedly until I could build that trust back. And so it really took a lot of being humble and taking responsibility for something wasn't my fault to begin with because I wasn't there. But accepting that fault on behalf of the organization and being willing to repair the relationship on behalf of the organization, I think that was the hardest because that's just not where my headspace was. And I don't think new eds think about that. It doesn't matter whose fault it was. You are now the face of the organization. Guess who gets to apologize.
[00:22:18] Patrick: Yeah.
[00:22:19] Colleen: And one of the things I think that also is really important to pay attention to where is the organization in its lifecycle? Because as somebody who has followed a founder, I can tell you that adds all kinds of new challenges as a brand new CEO coming in, as Jenny said, walking around apologizing and saying, we're going to do better. Sometimes you're walking around saying, I'm not her, I'm not him. Things are going to be different, and that can be real challenging as well. So paying attention to where the organization is in terms of their lifecycle is also going to be really important.
[00:22:51] Patrick: Well, I like the way you both are framing it.
I'm a representative of the organization.
I'm not Jenny.
Whose fault it was or whose fault it wasn't. I'm representing this organization that's got a mission that has you in mind. I'll tell you a quick story that is actually the opposite of all of this. And that is I got to my first CEO role and was so excited about all the new things we were going to do.
I found myself. I got called on it, actually, fortunately, by someone.
What a gift that they would tell me this because I think they caught it in time. But I was walking around with a message of, well, now we're going to be great. I mean, those weren't the words, but it's like, hey, everything before me was mediocre and it was. Now, look, here's the new vision. We're going to fix this. We're actually going to be somebody now, which is highly insulting to the stakeholders, donors, past, board members who built what you just walked into. And what an arrogant thing it was of me to not realize that. I wasn't trying to down anybody, but I was using words that made it that someone easily could have inferred. Oh, so what were we before you, Mr. Superstar that stepped in here? So you're not just apologizing for things, but you also have to acknowledge and give credit to those that have gone before you and what they've built that you now walk into.
[00:24:25] Ginny: Totally agree. Especially if the founder was loved. If it was a founder and the founder was loved, be careful with even more. So be very cautious.
And then even if there was like a disjointed decision making about the reason for the last ed leaving. So that means you've got people, pro people, con, and you're going to be really walking that fine line. I couldn't agree with you. It really, I think it goes back to what Colleen said about assessing where the organization is at the time of when you walk in and making sure you understand very clearly what the situation is so that you don't step into anything that you don't want to.
[00:25:05] Patrick: Yeah. Wow. Good stuff.
Let me ask this. For those that are thinking about becoming ceos, what are some of the questions people should ask themselves before saying, yes, I was a great fundraiser. Now I want to be a CEO, or I was a great program director or a great finance officer.
I think I can be a CEO, or I want to be, or maybe I was a was. I was in a leadership role in some corporation. I want to become a CEO. What are the questions that aspiring ceos need to consider before they take that jump?
[00:25:44] Colleen: Well, actually, those are two different situations in my head, Patrick. So let me talk about those first folks who, if I'm a really great development director, become an executive director, or I love running our programs and I'm ready to take that next step up. It really requires that, I think that the person have the ability to kind of look at things strategically, kind of take that 36,000 foot level perspective of being able to look at the big picture, that when you're running programs, there's a lot of concrete step by step things that have to be done. But when you're the leader, executive director, you have to be able to look at the big picture. You got to be able to realize how all the pieces fit together.
That's something you can learn. But some people just kind of inherently have that skill, right? That have the ability to do that.
So I think that's really important for them to be thinking about. If they don't have that skill, how can they go about getting it?
[00:26:47] Patrick: Well said. Jenny, what would you add?
[00:26:51] Ginny: Yeah, I mean, I definitely think more of thinking whether or not you're a strategic person who thinks big picture versus detail orientation, task orientation, and there definitely are people that very well know themselves as being more project focused.
I would add that being an executive director takes a certain type of temperament, and maybe it's not temperament, even thinking about this one step further, maybe resiliency, because whether Colleen and I have a little bit of a difference of opinion on this. But obviously, we want the board to be the partnership. We want the board to be the big supporter. But at the end of the day, your board can also be the biggest pain in the tukus. And so I feel like a lot of the time, the executive director role is extremely lonely.
It is very isolated. You have your staff that you're responsible for.
You can't really and shouldn't bring them into a lot of what's going on and then vice versa with the board, we have to make sure they understand their boundaries, which means we've got to be careful about what we bring them into and oftentimes leaves you very alone. And as an executive director, if you don't have the right temperament to be in that role, to be alone like that and sustain it for a long period, you're going to do the organization a disservice.
So that's probably one of the biggest as far as, like, if you're really thinking about it, I want you to think about, is this the right fit for me and who I am as a human? I think you also have to like people because really, at the end of the day, it's really all about relationship. You don't get to sit in your office and do paperwork, which, I mean, I'm a lawyer. I love some paperwork, so sign me up. But you've also got to be able to get out there and just feed off of talking to people about this mission and be that energy that the organization needs. You can't assign that to someone else. That's not a delegatable task.
[00:28:44] Colleen: You've got to really be able to build strong relationships with lots and lots of different kinds of people. That's really important.
[00:28:52] Patrick: I think that's a really important tenet to bring out because there are leaders who, they're great at strategy. They might even have really inspiring vision. They might be fantastic budgeters and finance wizards who can really manage the workings. Maybe they're even good program designers.
But, yeah, if they don't have the people skills. I always tell people, one of the assessments we do in our coaching work is emotional intelligence. And I always tell people, that is it.
That is the leadership tenet is emotional intelligence. If you don't have emotional intelligence, I don't care what else you have, you're done.
So I like the way you said it. Know, you kind of have to like people.
[00:29:41] Ginny: No, I think that emotional intelligence is. That's precisely it, Patrick. In fact, when Colleen and I do searches both together and independently, emotional intelligence is one of the first things we screen for, because you're right. That's a make or break, and that's not even a negotiable on an ideal candidate profile. It has to be part of it.
Doesn't all of this go to. You're going to have to have someone who's going to be able to assess themselves to know if any of these things are true about them.
We're asking people to look at themselves to see if they are the right temperament or the right personality to be an executive director in the first place. You hope that they're able to assess that truthfully and honestly with themselves.
[00:30:26] Colleen: Jenny, you actually brought up something that maybe goes back to something we were just talking about, but how important it is for the leader to acknowledge and recognize where they need some, know where they could use some. They are they open to ongoing education, learning about themselves, learning about the know. Patrick, I love your example. When you talked about your first job in that you recognized this was a big mistake. So I think good leaders have to be open to that self assessment as well.
Well, particularly in those first days.
[00:31:04] Patrick: Well, and again, in my case, it wasn't self awareness. I mean, someone told me this, so I think, I don't know if this is part of your construct, but it seems like if I were doing what you're doing, one of the things this just came to me, I think it's a great point, is find out pretty quickly who you can have that kind of trust in, who can tell you these things. Hey, watch me have my back. Don't let me. Please be ready to say something to me that needs to be said that might not, because there's a lot of people who won't say it, particularly if it's a new CEO. They don't have a relationship with you. They don't feel safe maybe in telling you that. For me, it was a board member, and good for them for saying, hey, you might want to watch your language there. If it hadn't been for and I don't know when, I would have discovered it, probably in a worse way.
[00:32:04] Colleen: Yeah, Patrick, I'm thinking about that. My first time as an executive director, I was really fortunate to have a great mentor who just accidentally happened to have been my board chair. I mean, I just was lucky that way. Who recognized that I brought a lot to the table, but there were areas where I needed some support and growth and did it in such a great way that I so much during those three years, during my first job, because of finding. And Jeannie's right, it is a really lonely job. And so finding some support, some peers support that you might be able to get wherever it might be that's safe and secure, that really helps you as you grow. So, yeah, it's real important.
[00:32:48] Patrick: The loneliness is real. In fact, if you ever go to our website, you'll see it in our brand construct when we talk about our mission and our purpose. One of the whys is that leadership is lonely.
That's one of the reasons we're here. And obviously, it's one of the big reasons you're there is leader. Somebody needs to be.
Boards are great boards are great, but even the great boards, they don't have the time or necessarily the expertise to be this kind of support.
[00:33:22] Ginny: That's right.
[00:33:23] Patrick: To someone. So I just want to reiterate that what you all are doing is huge.
It might be one program, and you can call it that, but it's nothing small if you think about it. All three of us right now on this podcast would probably champion some regulation that says new ceos must go through something like this. It's a must. You don't get to do this if you don't go through some pretty comprehensive onboarding about what's going on. Because how many ceos have the three of us come across that are great, wonderful, caring people that have no clue what they're doing and may not even know they don't know what they're doing?
[00:34:11] Colleen: They don't. And I will tell you, I don't know, 23 years I've been doing this. Interim executive director. The new eds or ceos that come in and take advantage of working with me for two months, almost without question, are much more successful than the ones. And I see lots of them who come in and say, no, no, I got this. Don't worry about it. I don't need to talk to you. And, Jenny, I know you've seen that as well, and they don't do as well. I've seen many of them fail after a couple of just. They're not open to that ability to grow.
[00:34:51] Ginny: And I think if we're looking at it from a mission perspective, that turnover isn't doing anyone any favors. So you're bringing this executive director in. You are not setting them up for success. You're going to see turnover within two years in that position. It's going to make it harder to find someone else to be successful. And all of this could have been avoided from a simple onboarding, giving them the basic framework and then helping support them to the next step.
[00:35:19] Patrick: You also might be destroying your organization. You might run your organization right out.
[00:35:23] Ginny: Of business if you don't. Absolutely.
[00:35:25] Patrick: Yeah. One of the reasons I believe in what you're talking about, Colleen, this coaching piece in particular is my second CEO role.
The very first thing my board did for me, and they didn't ask me, they just said, we got you an executive coach. And it was a very good, awesome. It was an expensive one, and it was six months. And, oh, man, what an absolute gift that was. Best thing the board could have done. I hit the ground running with an executive coach who very quickly was very adept at figuring out who I was and very quickly was able to know where to put on the brakes with me and go now here, this is not your last organization.
You can't just bring all that here.
This is a community. Remember, you just moved into this community.
There are some things you're going to have to think about. And it was extraordinary. We co created some models that I use in my coaching today, some frameworks and things. So that's when I really became a believer in the executive coaching piece, particularly at now, I think it's good anytime, but there are periods of time, there are cycles when it is highly effective, if not imperative. And stepping in from day one is one of those times.
[00:36:55] Colleen: Absolutely.
[00:36:58] Patrick: I want to do a little rapid fire here. What are some of the I walk in, I'm a first time CEO of a nonprofit, and maybe I'm youngish, I'm excited, I'm talented. What are some of the first tips you want to give me from your standpoint as onboarders and trainers and coaches? What are two or three of the things I need to kind of put this in mind right now? What are the big tips?
[00:37:23] Colleen: Prioritize, don't be overwhelmed. But to all of the stuff that coming at you and be able to prioritize what's most important.
[00:37:32] Ginny: Yeah, I mean, I'm thinking immediately about practicality, like what can you get done? You're drinking from the fire hose.
What's kind of a practical next steps? And we always say, really, your priority is to understand your organization and to meet the right people. So prioritizing your staff and your board and those relationships, as Colleen indicated early on, and really understanding that you've got to get to know that organization intimately all the way around.
I also think there's a few key things, Patrick, people just need to know about.
You kind of need to have the attitude from day one about your organization and whether that's, you already have your little elevator script in your hand and ready to go. You may not know anything else about it, but you need to have that ready to go and memorized.
And then you need to always know that money is going to run your show and it's going to be behind the scenes playing into everything that you do. And you need to think about what that looks like, even if you're not bringing it up. Day one, day two, day 20. You are thinking about how this organization is funded, who the funders are, who the donors are, what they like out of you, what they want, that sort of thing. And you have to keep that mindset throughout the time that you're the executive.
[00:39:00] Patrick: Director, I think that one is one of those that might be an answer to a previous question I asked, which is, what are some of the things you would say to an aspiring CEO?
And I think you just hit it. You're going to have to raise money. So if you don't like that, you are really the chief development officer. Even if you have a chief development officer, at least that's what a lot of boards expect, and there's going to be some element of that. So if you don't like that space and connecting with people and being able to make the case for why people and entities should be financially investing in your organization, you're going to have a tough time.
[00:39:38] Ginny: Yeah, I agree.
A good executive director understands that fundraising is so much bigger than just asking for money. Someone who's inexperienced, though, who's coming from maybe the for profit sector, they think of it only in terms of money. And that in itself is just another reason why they need to understand nonprofit, how that is different, because nonprofit includes 20 different versions of fundraising and fundraising encompassing so much more than just getting the cash in hand and being comfortable with all aspects of that. They're really important. If you're not willing to seal the deal, shake the hand, ask for the money, kiss the babies, and all the stuff that goes with it, you're not in the right role for you. Whether or not you are, like you said, you have a development staff or not.
[00:40:29] Patrick: Let's talk a little bit about the course.
It strikes me as we're talking that some of what we're talking about right now is leadership. And some of what we're talking about right now, it bleeds over a little bit into management and administration of a nonprofit. So, like moving from the business sector to the nonprofit sector, there are certain aspects of finance, for example, that are very different. Right. The statements are even named differently in the financial statements.
This course, how much of it would you say focuses on leadership components? How much of it would you say focuses on functional or manage administrative kind of functions of being in that chief role of a nonprofit?
[00:41:16] Ginny: Yeah, I would say that the course itself is 100% from the perspective of what the executive director should be considering doing.
It's important because it's from that mindset. So it is from a leadership perspective. So it has that kind of tint on the whole entire program, whereas some of, probably around 65% of the content is really coming down to operations.
How are financials different?
What does fundraising look like? And strategic planning in our world versus the for profit world.
And all of that, though, is, from the executive director perspective, the executive director's role in it, the way that they need to approach each of those different things. And then the leadership side of things is more from how much you can influence the change. Right. That's the best part about being an executive director, is you actually can affect that change that is built into the entire organization to the entire training as well. We're really trying to show you influence this. You can make this change, you can make this kind of difference, and that's your leadership that can get us, that get you there.
[00:42:31] Patrick: Well, I didn't want to make this necessarily a sales pitch for the program, but I do want our listeners to understand what this program is. So walk us through it. What can people expect if they sign up for this? What is it? Is it eight weeks? Is it a year long?
Tell me what the experience is like if a listener out there wants to sign up for this.
[00:42:57] Colleen: Well, Patrick, there are five, I think I said at the beginning of the program, there are five basic fundamental foundations that we kind of circle encompass all of what we talk about in the series. So we talk about nonprofit fundamentals, like, how is nonprofit different than for profit? What are the laws around operating a nonprofit? We talk about that change management. That's really important. And we talk about leadership styles.
I probably know that I'm missing some.
And then the next pillar we go to is we talk about the board of directors, because like it or not, they're really important to the success of the organization. So I think an executive director coming in has really got to have a clear understanding of what the board cannot do. Or maybe I should say what the board should and should not do, because if they have a clear understanding of what the appropriate role of the board is, then that really helps them develop the relationship. So we talk about that, and then we talk about how to build a strong relationship. We talk about how to build a strong board.
Then we go on to. What's the third one, Jenny?
[00:44:08] Ginny: Anything about the numbers? So finance and about. We do risk assessment, discussions, policies and procedures.
I do a lot of training on fundraising.
I am a CFRe. I love fundraising. I didn't know. I love fundraising. And I still to this day think it's hilarious that I say that out loud, but that's just a good example of how you just have to have it in your nature to want to do that kind of work. But we even go into how making an ask, and Colleen and I give an example of what an ask can look like practically, then session four is strategic planning, and that includes a component of secession planning.
And then we wrap it up with what I think. And Colleen believes it's the most important aspect of your organization. That's your people.
And so that's staff, that's board, that's your volunteers, and really looking at and then investing in yourself as being kind of the wrap up to the entire series.
And then we have a bunch of bonus sessions because we can't stop talking. And so we've come up with a few things that we felt like people wanted to know a little bit more about. So we've created bonus sessions, and we're going to continue to add those in as topics arise that we just see, we hear from people that they want to know more about, and we're happy to give that. And one of my favorites is nurturing safe space and creating space for your people after organizational change.
[00:45:39] Colleen: Yeah. And then as part of that also, Patrick, they get a significantly sized risk manual, which is such an incredible asset for a new director coming in because it provides things like sample job descriptions for your board, sample policies of what a conflict of interest policy should look like, or confidentiality.
It's got just a whole wealth of. Here are some tips on how to do fundraising. Here's a sample budget or what that looks like balance sheets, all that kind of stuff that then gives them kind of an immediate resources that they can fall back on.
[00:46:19] Patrick: That's awesome. It sounds very comprehensive. Start to finish. How long would it take someone to go through the program?
[00:46:25] Ginny: Yeah, it's eight and a half hours, and all of it in ten to 15 minutes increments. So it's self paced. Patrick, I know we're all around the same part of our lives. My life is extremely busy. I have young children trying to run a business. I know what it's like to be that executive director who is just absolutely overwhelmed and swamped. You don't have enough time to fix dinner, much less do anything else. And here we are.
Here, here. Do some training. I mean, it's a gift. You should just be really grateful that we're doing this and giving you more work to do. So I said to Colleen, let's do this in a format like how I love to listen to podcasts. Let's binge them as I'm taking the kids to school. Let's have it so they can listen to them while they're fixing dinner. And so these are these ten to 15 minutes increments of kind of just short blast mini sessions that you can then self pace. You end one, you can start another. It's all in audio and video. So you can listen or just listen in your car, or you can watch it, but you'll be getting the same amount of content fairly much.
And some of the 8.5 of the hours have been approved for CFRE credit that we were able to get. But I think the most important thing for me is the bits. It's the tidbits. And we know adult learners can't really focus after about 20 minutes, so we're giving them just enough that they can soak it in and then they can go about their day and go look up the bylaws or something that they have not looked at yet. And they're kind of like, oh, God, totally missed that. So it reminded them to do, you.
[00:48:05] Colleen: Know, I have this visual in my head because I'm a visual learner. And so I see Jenny sitting there drinking out of the fire hose, right, listening, trying to listen to the videos and saying, I got to do a training. I got to go away once a month to do a training session while I'm trying to learn everything about this organization and develop these relationships and establish my own. So this is such a much easier way to be able to do that, I think.
[00:48:29] Patrick: Well, I will say this without any reservation.
The fee that you're looking for from this course is so attainable, I would say, for anybody, for any organization. If a board is hiring an executive director and they want to ensure success, this looks pretty no brainer.
Again, this is seminal. I think this should just be like this or something like it should be required capacity.
[00:49:05] Ginny: If you think about the turnover, Patrick, I mean, your retention.
[00:49:09] Patrick: Oh, yeah.
[00:49:10] Ginny: You lose your leader, you're looking at probably easily 150,000, $200,000 mistake. And that's just the financial impact. That's not all of the, that's a small emotional issues and everything else that's going to mess you up.
Why would you take the chance and not invest in your person?
[00:49:30] Patrick: And I will say this, there's a line I use with people that are reaching out to me for anything. And it came from a nonprofit down in Florida. We got on the phone, she wanted some things, and I described what we can do, and she's like, oh, my gosh, this is wonderful. I want this so bad. I just have to go convince our board that you're worth it. And I said, no, that is not the question. What you need to find out from your board is whether they think they're worth it?
Is your organization worth this? I mean, ask yourself, if you're a board with a new CEO, is your new CEO?
And getting them off to the right start and continuity and retention and leadership and mission drive, are those worth the $1,000 maybe that we're talking about here? So to me, that's the question. And the answer is, like, who could say no? Who could say no to that question? So, to be honest, is the name of the program. I think I know where that came of. I get it. But tell me how you came up with that name.
[00:50:47] Ginny: Well, Colleen and I really wanted it to be very practical. I love academic sort of discussions, and I can all day long talk about what should be and what's best practice and all of that. But at the end of the day, they're the boots on the ground. These executive directors are out there. They're the ones in the field doing the work. And we learned, and I'm sure, Patrick, you can probably list yourself among this group. We learned a lot of the mistakes on our own. We floundered, we screwed up. We said things that we wish we could take back.
[00:51:23] Patrick: That's why we're consultants.
[00:51:24] Ginny: That's right. We didn't research that one contract that we didn't know existed. That's pointing at myself right now. There is a lot that we did wrong that we're hoping we can save them from making those same mistakes. But we put it in a way where we give examples, non identifying examples of experiences that we've had in the field doing it the wrong way and doing it the right way sometimes. That may be rarer, though.
And we're very honest. I mean, we're very direct about the experiences that we've had. And Colleen knows this is who I am. I'm brutally honest, very direct anyway, and she's much nicer about it. But we definitely put ourselves out there in a really time to say, like, we're not always perfect. We weren't always perfect, and yet we learned from it. So don't fall down in the same way that we did.
[00:52:17] Patrick: Well said, by the way. I'll just go ahead and cover this now. Capacitytodream.com is where we want to send people to find more information about this. Okay. And then at the top of the website, in the main menu, there's the TBH for to be honest. And that's where you'll find the course. And I strongly encourage folks to go look at this. And if you are a near to be exiting CEO, look at this course and share it with your board because what a great transition thing for them. I want to wrap this up. Thank you both. We could go on and I mean, this topic is one, you could have an entire podcast just on this topic and never run out of episodes. But let me ask you a question that I like to ask all my guests. And so I'll ask each of you to answer this in your own way as we wrap the show. And I just love the stories that I get on this. Who is a leader in your life, past or present, who you would say has had the most influence on you and your point of view on leadership and why?
Jenny, you want to.
[00:53:27] Colleen: So, Patrick, it's actually hard for me to separate. I actually have twos and the first one is my dad. Actually, my father worked in higher education. He was vice president of a number of different universities. And one of the things he taught me is because he worked with such diverse populations of students, really taught me the value of diversity and being able to interact and build and develop relationships with lots of different people and the value that that has in the work that I do. And the other one is a gentleman whose name is Richie Tidwell and he's in South Carolina. And he taught me how to be a consultant way back in the early ninety s. I started doing consulting with him and I wouldn't be where I am today without him.
[00:54:09] Patrick: What was it about him? If you were to sum it up in one main point, what was the main thing that made that impactful?
[00:54:18] Colleen: Again, I think it was about the relationships that you develop with also. So the relationships you build as you're doing your consulting and also how to facilitate interesting conversations that brings out the best in others.
[00:54:33] Patrick: Wow. Jenny, what about you?
[00:54:36] Ginny: I love that. I think in keeping with kind of the theme of TBH, the leader, and I'm using that lightly. I guess I'm making the assumption that leadership doesn't necessarily mean always positive. There can be people that have influenced us in a negative way as leaders. And when I was practicing law, I will not name any names, but when I was practicing law, I had a managing attorney who really taught me all about what I didn't want to be as a leader. And I took those lessons of being direct with team, my team, being open, having discussions with them about problems early on, helping them, basically letting them know I was there to support them, to be successful, but to a point, right. And being really clear about that because I always wanted them to know that they were supported and heard.
And that's probably my most influential as far as just becoming a leader. And then Nancy Barton was sister care because she listened. She is such a great leader for listening. She could listen. I would watch her with people and she would just sit there and listen to someone go on and on for 15 minutes. And it wasn't like she was zoning out. She was listening and asking these engaging questions. And that is not something that comes naturally to me. And so really watching that and knowing that needs to be a component of who you are as a leader absolutely. Has been very influential.
[00:56:14] Patrick: That resonates with me.
[00:56:15] Colleen: I love Nancy.
[00:56:17] Patrick: Yeah, me too.
That listening part resonates with me. We have a coaching training program and there's a whole module on active listening and listening. And one of the things I like to say is if you want to learn the tenets of active listening, just actively listen.
It's like, yes, there's eye contact and body language and there's all these things, but if you're thinking about those things, are you really listening?
And so, yeah, we talk a lot about that and the importance of that. Two primary skills in coaching are questioning and listening, and they go hand in hand. So that really resonates with me. We'll wrap up with this question. And, Colleen, maybe I'll start with you again.
You've got 15 seconds on the mountaintop with a megaphone. And down below are all the leaders, or aspiring leaders of the world. What's the Colleen Bozard 15 2nd sound bite on leadership? What's that number one tenet that all leaders really need to keep in mind?
[00:57:20] Colleen: Patrick? I think if I were going to give advice to leaders, my number one thing would be to work really hard to stay grounded, that having some balance in your life is so important to how you're able to be a leader, how you're able to look at perspective, how you're able to listen, and then express your vision. So I think working really hard to stay grounded is, to me, one of the most important things I learned.
[00:57:46] Patrick: I love it. Good reminder for all of us. Absolutely.
[00:57:49] Ginny: Me too.
[00:57:49] Patrick: Jenny, what about you?
[00:57:51] Ginny: I'll get on that.
[00:57:52] Patrick: Yeah, let's get on that.
[00:57:56] Ginny: So this is one of my focus areas in my practice. It's something that I very much believe in in consulting and that I really try to bring to my executive coaching for my clients. And that's to be authentic, to be themselves in a way that they can be humble when necessary, admit when they're wrong, celebrate when they're right, bring people along with their energy, but their realistic selves. And I feel like when someone is living in that, that people want to just naturally congregate to you, to live with you, be with you and you're going to be surely successful. Whether you know how to read that financial spreadsheet or how to go and raise that money, people are going to come along with you and support you because they're going to want to be part of whatever you're doing.
[00:58:47] Patrick: I love that. That resonates too. And I'll tell you, the opposite is true. If it's superficial, you will repel people.
They don't want a part of that immediately. People will eventually see through that. Ladies, this is extraordinary. I want to highly encourage our listeners to go to capacitytodream.com.
Check out everything that Jenny and the team, Colleen Chamley, I don't know who all you've got on your team, but incredible people doing incredible work, a great resource to the sector and check out this course. And thanks again, ladies, for coming on. All right, folks, we'll see you soon. Lead on.