Issue No. 303 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting suggests you’re no dummy—if you regularly revisit the fundamentals of leadership and management with your team—especially those critical blocking and tackling basics. And this reminder, check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
When Followers Won’t Follow
Certainly every leader and manager who is a fan of American football has quoted the famous first-day-of-practice one-liner from Vince Lombardi, the celebrated coach of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. Between 1959 and 1967, Lombardi won five NFL championships (including the first two Super Bowls) and six conference titles in nine seasons.
Stressing fundamentals and the basics of the game to high-paid professional athletes, Lombardi would start each season’s first practice session with this line:
“Gentlemen, this is a football!”
Today, we would call Lombardi’s sermon, “Football for Dummies.” But even that title doesn’t do it justice. So this summer (here in the Northern Hemisphere) as you’re thinking through your inspirational staff meeting talks for the fall, let me suggest three books for “dummies.” My sense: we don’t talk about the fundamentals enough—the blocking and tackling of effective leadership and management.
Nonprofit Kit for Dummies® (4th Edition) was released earlier this year and like all the “Dummies®” books, every page is crammed with helpful resources—even for experienced nonprofit leaders and board members who can teach the course.
If I had $100 every time someone asked me, “How do you start a nonprofit organization?” – I would have lots of money to give to nonprofit organizations! So finally…I have a four-word answer: Nonprofit Kit for Dummies®.
--A bonus CD with 100 forms and documents (worth the price of the book).
--21 jam-packed, practical chapters (management, fundraising, tips, building the board, planning, volunteers, staffing, budgets and finance, PR, and “Ten Tips for Hard Times”) Note: hopefully, the “hard times” warning will scare off a few nonprofit wanna-be’s.
--Classic dummies-style definitions to settle staff arguments (What’s the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement?)
--“Putting Plans into Action” clearly defines the differences between goals, strategies, objectives and outcomes. (I prefer GNOME: Goals, Needs, Objectives, Methods, Evaluation, but this is a very helpful chapter.)
I agree with the authors: “Don’t get bogged down in terms. How you label the different steps in your plan is less important than clarifying what you need to accomplish and the steps you’ll take to succeed.”
I also appreciated the authors’ thoughts on vision statements: “Some nonprofits include their vision statements in their mission statements, and others don’t. We believe that holding a dream is a good thing, and we see some truth to the statement,
‘If you can’t imagine
doing something great,
you probably can’t do it.’”
They add, “Still, we encourage you not to spend an excessive amount of time shaping your vision statement. Focusing on a clear purpose and concrete means for addressing it is more important.”
This is a perfect book for coaching and mentoring young leaders, new board members, and perhaps even donors. (They’ll begin to appreciate the complexity of your nonprofit work.)
Leadership for Dummies®, by Marshall Loeb, former managing editor of Fortune and Money magazines, and Stephen Kindel, former president of Pull Technologies, is equally comprehensive and helpful.
In describing three types of leadership styles (the chief strategist, the chief marketing officer, or the savior), the authors spotlight the New York Jets football coach, Bill Parcells, who inherited the team after a 1-15 loss/win record. His strategy: simplify the offense so cast-off quarterback Vinny Testaverde wouldn’t throw so many interceptions. It worked and the Jets were in the playoffs after only two seasons under Parcells.
Buy this one and you’ll get hooked—and you might even ignore social media for a day. The content is excellent:
• Ten Mistakes That Every Leader Makes (“Being a commander rather than a leader.”)
• “Plan for every contingency—and remember that you can’t plan for every contingency.” (from the perforated card stock “Cheat Sheet” in the front of the book)
• When Followers Won’t Follow (Symptom: “Never leave people wondering.” Instead, institute a hard-and-fast policy that all questions will be answered within 48 hours.)
Managing for Dummies®, with the tagline “Motivate people, boost productivity and attain your goals,” includes a thumbs-up from Ken Blanchard, “Finally, a book on managing that doesn’t make you feel like an idiot.”
The “Cheat Sheet” first page includes 17 daily affirmations for managers:
“If you can’t measure performance,
you can’t manage it.”
• Ten Common Management Mistakes
• When in Doubt, Coach
• Too Little, Too Late: Terminating Employees
The final chapter, “Ten Classic Business Books You Need to Know About,” includes this hall of fame list of 10, plus a bonus book. (I’ve read eight and reviewed three.)
• Managing for Results (Drucker)
• The Human Side of Enterprise (McGregor)
• The Peter Principle (Peter and Hull)
• Up the Organization (Townsend)
• The One Minute Manager (Blanchard)
• In Search of Excellence (Peters and Waterman)
• The Goal (Goldratt and Cox)
• Leadership Is an Art (De Pree)
• The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (Senge)
• The Wisdom of Teams (Katzenback and Smith)
• The Game of Work (Coonradt)
Peter Drucker was no fan of The Peter Principle (read why).
My thanks to Jim Canning, who scours the horizons and used bookstores, for sending me the Leadership and Managing books from the Dummies® series.
SUGGESTION: delegate the reading/surfing of these three books to three team members—and ask them for 5-minute reviews/highlights at your next three staff or department meetings—then feature them on your staff resource shelf. (You do have a resource shelf, right?)
To order these books from Amazon, click on the graphics below for:
• Nonprofit Kit for Dummies® (4th Edition), by Stan Hutton and Frances N. Phillips (includes a CD-ROM with 100+ documents)
• Leadership for Dummies®, by Marshall Loeb and Stephen Kindel
• Managing for Dummies®, by Bob Nelson and Peter Economy
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) What are the Top-10 leadership and management books on your shelf?
2) The leadership book, noting that every NASA space mission team had its own logo, suggests your team/department needs a logo. What might be the upside and/or downside of team logos?
You May Be Seriously Overpaid! - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
Here’s a question from the Delegation Bucket, Chapter 16, in Mastering the Management Buckets: “When you return from an absence from the office, do you find the in-basket too full?”
That’s one of ten questions from Alec Mackenzie, the time management guru, in his Effective Delegation Quiz. Read the other nine questions from his brilliant 39-minute CD in my online review here. If you fail the quiz, Mackenzie says, “you may be seriously overpaid!”
For more Delegation Bucket resources and book recommendations, including “Worksheet #16.1: Dysfunctional Delegation Diseases,” visit the webpage.