nonprofit News

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  • Saturday, March 11, 2017 6:36 AM | Anonymous

    A dream team is a force to be reckoned with; it’s coordinated, aligned and productive. If your number one priority is to create, retain and galvanize a dream team, here are the essentials you need to know.

    The typical phases of creating a dream team are forming, storming, norming and performing as described by psychologist Bruce Tuckman. But from my consulting experience in many areas of strategy, I’ve added the essential phases that aren't covered in team development: sustaining, adapting and innovating. Let's start from the top.

    1. Forming Phase

    In the team-forming phase, the team members learn about each other and about how to work most successfully together.

    • Define goals and objectives. Agree on what are you trying to achieve as a team.
    • Learn each individual's personal objectives and what he/she wants to get from participating.
    • Share baggage, i.e., discuss habits, personal preferences and attitudes or sensitivities. Make room for a discussion of personal circumstances that can impact the team's plans (such as pregnancy due dates, civic duties, etc.). Allow room to fit these into the schedule.

    Leaders plan. Give instructions and engage their team to get input. Team members are familiarizing themselves with each other.

    2. Storming Phase

    Unforeseen issues begin to surface as team members work together. Interpersonal challenges must be recognized as opportunities for improving communications and processes.

    • Disruptive factors, like unexpected personality traits, can become apparent.
    • Conflicts may occur. Many conflicts are not intentional. Remember, every person joined the team because he/she shared the vision of all of the other team members. Everyone wants to accomplish their very best for the team and wants the team to succeed.
    • Miscommunications may result in conflicts when people don't understand their roles well enough, and consequently, do not do what others thought that they were supposed to do.
    • Look at and welcome differences between individuals' thinking.
    • Give and receive constructive feedback.

    Forbes Nonprofit Council is an invitation-only organization for chief executives in successful nonprofit organizations. Do I qualify?

    During this phase, team members are discovering their differences. Communications are being improved. Conflicts are being resolved. And, leadership is providing guidance, much of which involves reselling team members on the team's original objectives.

    Note that team performance can be predicted to dip during this adjustment phase.

    3. Norming Phase

    In this phase, team members come to notice the need for some ground rules for working together. For example, "We're not going to start meetings before 5:00 a.m. or after 10:00 p.m."

    • Establish ground rules to help team members avoid placing unreasonable expectations upon one another
    • Identify points of agreement as well as differing opinions.
    • Redefine roles and responsibilities to optimally fit individuals' skills.
    • Double-team. Have two people work on certain tasks to cover contingencies. For example, "One person might brainstorm assumptions, while another does modeling."
    • Teach the team to remain open when setbacks occur; identify solutions and resolutions to issues.

    Team members are starting to participate more fully at this stage, as leaders establish common ground.

    4. Performing Phase

    At this stage, the team is proficient and performing at peak levels. Team members can:

    • Quickly and effectively implement tasks
    • Celebrate successes
    • Remain open when setbacks occur
    • Seek resolutions to problems instead of blaming
    • Continue to welcome constructive input

    People now know what they need to do. And, they know their fellow team members' strengths and weaknesses, so they can complement each other's skills and compensate for limitations. Leadership is now characterized by delegating.

    5. Sustaining, Adapting and Innovating Phase

    This phase is often not included in the normal stages of forming a team, yet it is the most important phase if an organization wants to grow and succeed. Team members must adapt and have a spark of creativity to adjust as roles change. The blueprint for success is a solid culture and being aware of personal styles as well as constantly adapting and sharpening your team leadership.

    The following are some factors involving team character that influence your culture and successful teamwork:

    • The team members agree on what is required to reach the common goal.
    • There is a teamwork culture of prioritizing working well together.
    • An atmosphere of trust encourages the best performance by every member.
    • Team members understand their specific roles and how those facilitate reaching the goal.
    • People's lifestyles are well-balanced with their responsibilities for team tasks.
    • Communications and expectations in regards to plans and milestones are clear.

    Interpersonal Keys To Building A Winning Startup Team

    To merge personalities into a cohesive team, acquire deeper insights into the four basic differences in ways individuals think and operate introduced below. Then, instead of treating people as you want to be treated, treat them as they want to be treated. Teach your team members to do the same.

    • Relators are open and direct. They include others in decision making.
    • Socializers are very open and direct and want to know that you're interested in them.
    • Thinkers are more guarded and indirect; they hold high expectations of themselves and others.
    • Directors tend to be guarded and direct. They need to achieve and are most comfortable when they're in charge.

    The Framework For Your Leadership Model

    Building the best team requires the kind of leader who encourages and nurtures team members' development. Prerequisites for leaders and mentors of such character include attributes of being interested in people, being a straight talker, and knowing when to pivot. Follow their examples:

    • Interact frequently.
    • Provide individual coaching to enhance your understanding of the team.
    • Provide group coaching to allow each person to understand.
    • Reward good work.
    • Keep your eyes open to possibilities and continuously learn.

    Evaluate your leadership success by how well you inspire people to do whatever needs to be done to reach the goal and to passionately believe in the value of doing it. Good luck on building your dream team!

  • Saturday, March 11, 2017 5:37 AM | Anonymous

    According to Forrester Research, 7% of U.S. jobs will be eliminated by automation by 2025. Retail, restaurant and customer service areas are expected to be especially hard hit as self-checking kiosks and AI chatbots become more prevalent. This wave of automation will inevitably sweep away many low-skill positions typically held by those with only a high school diploma or GED. This poses not only a challenge for those individuals who will be affected but for our society as a whole as we endeavor to ensure people have the opportunity to work.

    Ironically, there is growing and unmet demand for skills-based jobs that may not require a four-year degree. Many rewarding careers in healthcare, manufacturing and IT can be had with a two-year degree, on-the-job training and/or professional certification, and yet many young people don’t even consider these opportunities because of perceptions associated with “alternative pathways” of career training.

    Some may think or suggest that one way to address this disconnect between the outcomes of education and the needs of the workplace is for nonprofits to reinvent the wheel and try to do the jobs of schools. That’s not the case. While there are schools that are failing to make the grade, most aren’t. And the bigger issue is societal perceptions around what is and isn’t appropriate career-wise more than what is being offered in classrooms.

    Forbes Nonprofit Council is an invitation-only organization for chief executives in successful nonprofit organizations. Do I qualify?

    For example, in recent years there has been a huge push to get girls more engaged in STEM careers. But research conducted by ORC International for Junior Achievement and EY shows that career preferences among teens remain drawn along gender lines, with more than one-third (36%) of boys pursuing non-medical STEM careers versus only 11% of girls. Twenty-six percent of girls plan to study for careers in the arts (vs. 10% of boys) and girls favor careers in the medical/dental field 24% compared to just 6% of boys. The research also shows that boys are more inclined to consider jobs that make a lot of money while girls are more interested in jobs that help people.

    An example of how nonprofits can help address a situation such as this involves influencing environmental factors that contribute to girls losing interest in STEM. There is ample research that shows many young people disengage from certain academic subjects because of peer pressure and preconceptions by parents, teachers and other role models in their lives as to what is appropriate for the student. Nonprofits can play a role in addressing this by bringing female mentors and role models from STEM careers into classrooms and extracurricular programs to share their experience with both girls and boys to help change those preconceptions and give girls a better idea of what’s possible for them in STEM.

    Additional actions nonprofits should consider include:

    • Building Bridges Between Education And Business: The reality is schools aren’t going to change overnight and businesses don’t have the bandwidth to tackle talent pipeline issues on their own. While schools often get the brunt of criticism when it comes to these kinds of matters, the fact is for the past two decades, education policy has been aimed at promoting higher test scores and academic achievement, not work-readiness. It is a bit unfair to suddenly put the blame on educators for doing what they’ve been told to do. On the flipside, even businesses with great learning and talent development systems are finding it difficult to identify candidates with the communication, collaborative, creative- and critical-thinking skills necessary to succeed in an ever-changing workplace. Nonprofits can promote the development of these skills, increase understanding of career pathways and help students make the connection between what’s learned in the classroom and how it applies to the world of work by being a partner, not a competitor, with schools and businesses in the community.
    • Becoming Incubators For Innovation: Forward-looking nonprofits can become incubators for innovation, taking risks, and testing new approaches that might not be so easy for schools or businesses to do on their own. Working closely with businesses, especially with startups and those involved with design-thinking and Lean Methodology associated with product and service development, can help drive innovation and foster the out-of-the box thinking necessary to effect needed change.
    • Staying True To Your Mission: Being in the position of problem-solver can be exciting and energizing. The challenge is to not try to be all things to all people. There will be stakeholders who come to the table with great ideas that aren’t necessarily true to your mission. It’s important to stay focused on what you are trying to accomplish and either bring stakeholders along or, if necessary, agree to disagree and move on.

    Finally, the world has no shortage of white papers and thought pieces on this topic. As Walt Disney once said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” Nonprofits are in a unique position to “begin doing” when it comes to taking on the challenges associated with the future of work.

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