Peter F. Drucker, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008), “Who Is Our Customer,” pp. 25-46.
Airport bookstores are filled with the latest answers from management gurus. None have enjoyed anything approaching the long shelf life of Peter Drucker—perhaps because his specialty was questions, the questions. Drucker’s questions help organizations address their core strengths and weaknesses and design their strategy. A stellar cast of current scholars: Jim Collins, Philip Kotler, Jim Kouzes, Judith Rodin, Kas Rangan and Frances Hesselbein celebrate Drucker’s achievement with to-the-point essays that apply Drucker’s five basic questions to contemporary organizational life: What is our mission? Who is our customer? What does the customer value? What are our results? What is our plan?
Drucker would be no stranger to the tensions in almost every cultural organization: continuity and change, financial sustainability and honoring the muses, and the collisions of value sets among the various professions staffing the organization. Drucker’s questions often both surface these tensions and offer the superordinate values in which differences might be resolved.
The book also includes Peter Drucker’s organizational self-assessment process—not so much a questionnaire as it is a potentially transformative organization-wide process. The process has a strong focus on goals, emphasizing commitment to direction and flexibility in execution. It places ownership and accountability with individuals and leads participants to results monitoring that—in turn—closes the loop with an improved strategy.
Jean Lipman-Blumen, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), Originally published as The Connective Edge: Leading in an Interdependent World (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1996), “New World, New Leadership,” pp. 3-27, “The Connective Organization, Matching Leadership and Organizational Styles,” pp. 257-285.
The environment shared by for-profits and nonprofits has remarkable similarities: a global economy afflicted with major uncertainties; collaboration among competitors such as Apple and IBM; and much troubled leadership models, e.g., command and control, manipulative and Machiavellian and “nice guy – team leaders,” as Lipman-Blumen suggests. She argues that two antithetical forces, interdependence and diversity, are generating tensions that will fundamentally change the conditions under which leaders must lead and that to succeed in this dramatically altered environment where inclusion is critical and connection is inevitable, we need a new kind of leadership. Connective Leadership describes that new leadership as “one that is more politically savvy and instrumental, yet more ethical, authentic, accountable, and, particularly, more ennobling.”
Three research streams inform this work. Lipman-Blumen has done qualitative research—mostly interviews with leaders from the for-profit and the nonprofit sectors. The second research stream involves historical, biographical and autobiographical sources. The third is quantitative, based on two instruments: the Achieving Styles Inventory and the Organizational Achieving Styles Inventory. The author uses more than five thousand cases collected and analyzed since 1984. Lipman-Blumen’s perspectives also draw on a wide range of her consulting experience in government, business and the social sector. Part One examines the origins and evolution of the human need for leadership. Part Two presents the Connective Leadership Model in detail. Part Three explores the empirical organizational results and the philosophical implications of the Model.
Dean Williams, (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2005), "Diagnostic Work: Determining the Principal Challenge," pp. 31-55.
Dean Williams is a writer and scholar with significant international experience (he served for five years as Chief Advisor to the president of Madagascar). This experience is evident in the broadly applicable examples he pulls from world history to illustrate his points in Real Leadership: Helping People and Organizations Face Their Toughest Challenges. We have included two chapters as “Must Reads” because the book is an accessible and engaging source of ideas for leaders during difficult times.
“Diagnostic Work: Determining the Principal Challenge” discusses why leaders should take a bird’s eye view of the terrain before leading their team into a challenge. Using a variety of actual leaders as research, Williams builds a framework for diagnosing the challenge, assessing the environmental factors and determining what actions to take. Interestingly, Williams notes that one of the steps in diagnosis is actually putting aside the intuition inherit in most leaders and listening to others. Gathering this information reveals aspects of reality team members are avoiding and shows how the group can collectively tackle the challenge.
Ronald E. Riggio and Sarah Smith Orr, editors. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004), “Transforming Nonprofit Boards,” pp. 119-130.
Riggio and Orr capture the substance of the Kravis-de Roulet Leadership Conference focused on the nonprofit. Several themes are addressed including change in and transformation of nonprofits, the special nature of nonprofit leadership and the ways in which ideas and actions are interconnected. The scope of the conference was broad, including many challenges faced by nonprofit leaders, e.g., board management, staff motivation, leadership development and program evaluation. The book is intended to be a guidebook for leading nonprofit organizations rather than a handbook of nonprofit leadership or management. This book’s essays are designed to stimulate a nonprofit leader’s thinking and to point out new directions and new ideas for leading that are all well-grounded in theory, research and practice. The essays prompt questions rather than prescribing answers.
Jay Congar’s essay on governance as leadership, “Transforming Nonprofit Boards—Lessons from the World of Corporate Governance,” will be of particular interest to the executive directors of cultural organizations. Congar builds on Peter Drucker’s advice in Managing the Nonprofit Organization:“Over the door to the nonprofit’s boardroom there should be an inscription in big letters that says: Membership on this board is not power, it is responsibility. Board membership means responsibility not just to the organization but to the board itself, to the staff, and to the institution’s mission.” There are four corporate governance areas that Congar believes offer lessons to nonprofit boards: board size, boardroom evaluations, assessments of directors’ capabilities and efficient formats for board meetings. His advice about leveraging the resources around the board table includes descriptions of key knowledge areas that should be present in any well rounded board. He also emphasizes the need not to waste busy people’s time with poorly designed meetings.
The complex issues involved in leading a cultural nonprofit today can challenge even the most skilled management team. Using our first-hand experience in the arts and working with faculty from leading business and graduate schools, we deliver executive-level programs that help you find new opportunities, manage your resources and lead your organization toward its mission.