Module 1 – Leadership

Leadership

Performance Practice Learning Module

How courageous and adaptive is your board and executive leadership? Embark on a learning journey to make it even stronger

Does your organization have the leadership and governance needed to drive performance? This module is the perfect starting point for those who want to strengthen their leadership team and increase board engagement.

The module addresses executives’ and boards’ roles in clarifying strategic direction, developing talent, ensuring program effectiveness and financial sustainability, and acquiring resources. Working through this module together helps leaders and board members develop shared understanding of areas where they excel, issues that impede their effectiveness, and practices to strengthen their leadership.

1 LEARN

User Guide

Introduction to the Performance Practice, acknowledgments, application, and development methodology

Download File

2 COLLECT DATA

Worksheet

Use this worksheet to complete the self-assessment.

Download File

3 REVIEW RESULTS

Reporting App

The reporting app compiles your results - no manual aggregation required!

Windows Instructions
Windows Reporting App

MacOS Instructions
MacOS App, up to v10.12/Sierra
MacOS App, v10.13+/High Sierra

Watch: Reporting App Guide

Leadership Principles and Proof Points

Principle 1.1:  Executives and boards embrace their responsibility to deliver meaningful, measurable, and financially sustainable results for the people or causes the organization is in existence to serve.

1.1.1:  My organization’s executives and board have formally documented that they are mutually responsible for ensuring strong performance and their respective roles in achieving it; furthermore, they have fully committed to and accepted these roles and responsibilities.

1.1.2:  Through a formal process, my organization’s executives assess themselves individually and collectively, at least once a year, to hold themselves accountable for delivering strong results.

1.1.3:  Through a formal process, my organization’s board members assess themselves individually and collectively, at least once a year, to hold themselves accountable for delivering strong results.

Principle 1.2:  Boards are strong, assertive governors and stewards, not just supporters and fundraisers. They recruit, advise, and hold accountable the lead executive (CEO). They ask probing questions about whether the organization is living up to its promises and acknowledge when course correction is needed.

1.2.1:  My organization’s executives and board identify and prioritize the diverse skills and backgrounds we need on our board for producing meaningful results—and use this as guidance for recruiting and vetting prospective board members.

1.2.2:  Through strong board orientation and engagement processes, my organization encourages board members to ask probing questions and provide constructive pushback on the CEO.

1.2.3:  My organization’s board meetings are data-informed, provide reports on results, and allow for in-depth discussions on major strategic issues.

1.2.4:  My organization’s board reviews our CEO’s performance annually and uses this process to help set goals for the coming year. This review includes a self-assessment by the CEO, an assessment by the governance committee, input from the full board, and insights from staff (not necessarily attributed to the individual).

Principle 1.3:  Executives and boards clarify the mission (purpose) of their organization and inspire people to work to achieve it.

1.3.1:  Every three to five years, my organization’s executives, board, and key staff thoroughly review, question, and revise as necessary the mission of the organization and the core assumptions upon which the mission is based.

1.3.2:  All board members can point to specific instances in which they’ve actively shared the organization’s mission within their own networks to further the organization’s goals.

1.3.3:  My organization’s executives periodically assess how well they have communicated our mission internally and externally.

1.3.4:  My organization’s board periodically assess how well they have communicated our mission internally and externally.

Principle 1.4:  Executives and boards recruit, develop, engage, and retain the talent necessary to deliver on this mission. They know that great talent is a huge differentiator between organizations that are high performing and those that aren’t.

1.4.1:  My organization’s CEO is deeply and personally engaged in talent recruitment and development, with an eye toward strengthening our talent base at every opportunity.

1.4.2:  My organization has a formal succession plan for every C-level role in the organization.

1.4.3:  My organization applies professional-development and compensation practices that reflect the importance of cultivating and keeping great talent—and the disproportionate cost of losing it.

Principle 1.5:  Executives and boards marshal the external partners and resources necessary to deliver on their mission.

1.5.1:  Each of my organization’s board members invests time outside of formal board and committee meetings to work in partnership with our executives to raise the resources we need to finance the organization.

1.5.2:  Annually, each of my organization’s board members can point to at least one example of opening doors and/or fostering relationships that have helped us advance our mission (e.g., relationships with policymakers, business leaders, or the media).

Principle 1.6: Executives and boards passionately push the organization to get better at meeting its mission and to reduce costs without compromising quality.

1.6.1:  My organization’s board members are sufficiently knowledgeable about our business model and service-delivery model to engage in routine, constructive questioning of how we deploy resources.

1.6.2:  My organization’s executives regularly and rigorously analyze how we are deploying all resources—not just money but also people, time, energy, and focus—with an eye toward shifting resources to those areas that can have the greatest impact.

1.6.3:  My organization’s board members regularly and rigorously analyze how we are deploying all resources—not just money but also people, time, energy, and focus—with an eye toward shifting resources to those areas that can have the greatest impact.

1.6.4:  My organization’s executives routinely review research and engage in learning opportunities that can help us improve our organizational effectiveness, produce improved results, and/or reduce costs without compromising quality.

1.6.5:  My organization’s board members routinely review research and engage in learning opportunities that can help us improve our organizational effectiveness, produce improved results, and/or reduce costs without compromising quality.

Principle 1.7:  Executives and boards are humble enough to seek and act on feedback on their own performance and that of their organization. Even the highest of high performers know that they haven’t figured it all out and acknowledge that they still have a lot of work to do.

1.7.1:  My organization’s leaders are not just receptive to feedback; they actively seek it out from staff, beneficiaries, other external stakeholders, internal performance data, and external evaluations.

1.7.2:  My organization’s leaders acknowledge publicly where we need to improve and what we still need to understand better if we are to realize the results we seek.

Principle 1.8:  Executives and boards are constantly assessing not only what the organization should be doing but also what it should stop doing, with an eye to redirecting scarce resources to the highest-opportunity areas.

1.8.1:  My organization can cite specific cases in which we have cut back or eliminated efforts we found to be ineffective, redundant, or unsustainable and/or redirected resources to areas of greater opportunity.

1.8.2:  My organization periodically assesses the costs and benefits of each function (through “zero-based budgeting” or some other process) to evaluate whether each is worth continuing.

1.8.3:  My organization can cite specific examples of cases in which we have turned away potential funders when their intentions did not align with the organization’s mission or readiness.

Principle 1.9: Executives and boards clearly define their respective roles.

1.9.1:  My organization’s executives and board have put in writing “terms of engagement” and use them in orientation sessions for new executives and board members.

1.9.2:  My organization’s board chair and CEO routinely spend time outside of board meetings getting to know each other and building a strong, effective working relationship.

Principle 1.10:  Executives and boards model thoughtful, clear, informative, and timely internal and external communications. They see communications as a strategic function that is essential for delivering great results and not just good PR.

1.10.1:  My organization’s leaders communicate our results transparently to both internal and external audiences. (Transparency about results helps us drive even better results over time.)

1.10.2:  My organization’s leaders empower and equip all employees and volunteers to play a role in external communication about our work and results—and can point to specific examples of how this works in practice.

Download Principles & Proof Points for Leadership

Sample Reports

With the free reporting app, you can create a report like the sample below in minutes. To create your own report, you will first need to collect your data. Go to any of the modules to get started.

Summary:
The Summary report shows the distribution of ratings for each proof point, gives a picture of the level of consensus, and opens the door to productive conversations about ways to move forward.

Details:
For a thorough understanding of individual perspectives, drill down to see each respondent’s ratings and comments per proof point.

Leadership Module Principles & Proof Points
Principles and proof points for this module to provide overall perspective and context before completing the Workbook

Leadership Module Worksheet
File to use to complete the self-assessment, includes instructions; open on laptop/desktop rather than mobile device

User Guide
Introduction to the Performance Practice, acknowledgments, application, and development methodology

Reporting App Downloads
The reporting app compiles data from all the worksheets into one spreadsheet.
Reporting App: Windows
Reporting App: MacOS (v10.13 + newer)
Reporting App: MacOS (v10.12 + older)

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