Nonprofit Leadership Directions

Subscribe to Doug's Blog FeedNonprofit Leadership Directions is dedicated to helping nonprofit board members and CEOs become higher-impact leaders by sharing real-life successful experience and thought provoking ideas.

June 27, 2017

The CEO-COO Leadership Team at the Top

A two-person executive office consisting of a chief executive officer and chief operating officer (typically known as “president”) is a staple in the for-profit sector. And these days I’m seeing the configuration more frequently in larger nonprofits where several senior executives once reported directly to the CEO. There’s a pretty compelling reason for adopting this executive management structure: freeing up the CEO to focus upward and outward – interacting intensively with her board of...

April 16, 2017

Making Superintendent Evaluation a Powerful Relationship Building Tool

Truly board-savvy superintendents make sure that their board evaluates their performance at least annually, employing a well-designed process that gets the heart of the superintendent’s leadership as chief executive of her district. Really board-savvy superintendents know that a simplistic approach won’t get the job done – in fact, might actually damage the board-superintendent working relationship. A few years ago I was interviewing school board members one-on-one in preparation for a...

January 7, 2017

Taking a Holistic Approach to Strengthening Your Board's Culture

“Nothing’s really changed, and that’s terribly disappointing.” This is what the CEO told me in a recent coaching session about the results of a daylong board-CEO “team building” retreat that’d been held around three months earlier. The session had been scheduled, the CEO explained, in response the perception of a majority of board members and the CEO that the board’s culture had become increasingly dysfunctional, characterized by uncivil debate in public board meetings, including some...

November 9, 2016

So Tell Us About Your Failures

Years ago I was working as a coach to a CEO search committee that was developing the questionnaire they’d be using in interviewing candidates for the job. One suggestion that stimulated a fair amount of discussion and proved very valuable in the interview process was that we’d ask candidates to describe a couple of failures over the course of their career and how they’d dealt with these setbacks. We ultimately agreed that asking candidates about how they’d coped with adversity would be an...

April 8, 2016

Insidious Foe #1: Governing Is Very Simply Policy Making

This is the first in a series of articles dealing with eight insidious foes of a solid board-CEO partnership. An insidious foe is an erroneous assumption that can seriously damage the board-CEO partnership, but that isn’t obviously a foe. In fact, it can appear relatively benign, which makes it especially dangerous.

We need help!” Those are the first words I heard when I finally connected by phone with the board chair and CEO of an international...

February 19, 2016

Our Land of Opportunity - Still

“You know”, I said, “if you go back far enough, the overwhelming majority of us are from somewhere else.” We were introducing ourselves during the first hour of the inaugural English conversation class I’m teaching at the Hispanic Outreach Center in Clearwater, Florida, and it was my turn to tell a bit about my own family history. I went on to tell about Dad’s Grandfather Eadie, a Scottish coal miner who almost certainly never even finished elementary school, who immigrated to the US in...

February 11, 2016

What, Me Worry About a Big Board?

"Why in heaven’s name would I even consider it?” This how my colleague Jeff Finkle, President & CEO of the International Economic Development Council, responded over dinner a few weeks ago when I asked him whether he’d ever thought about downsizing his relatively large 55-member board. Jeff and another close colleague of mine, Virginia Jacko, President & CEO of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind (with a relatively svelte 26-member board), are birds of a feather where their boards are...

November 13, 2015

Beware Of Planning Yourself Into a Box

How did I get into the business of helping nonprofit boards and CEOs build their leadership capacity? This is the first question Cheryl Ronk, President of the Michigan Society of Association Executives, asked me to think about in preparation for last week’s interview on her Michigan Business Network radio show. Thinking about that question the day before the show, I realized that what had originally gotten me started on the road that eventually led to my founding Doug Eadie & Company...

October 17, 2015

Greenlight Pinellas: A Pothole on the Road to Ultimate Success

Residents of Pinellas County, Florida who, like me, are strong supporters of expanding public transportation options in this increasingly gridlocked metropolitan area were sorely disappointed in November 2014. Voters overwhelmingly defeated a ballot measure to fund – with a new 1 percent sales tax – a comprehensive transportation plan developed by Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) known as “Greenlight Pinellas.” Defeat of transportation tax issues has been quite common in Florida...