My Recipe for Great Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector

Nine points I believe everyone needs to practice to be a successful nonprofit social entrepreneur and leader.

    1. Failure is opportunity; it’s up to you to find opportunity hidden inside failure.
    2. Look for people’s strengths; set team members up for success by focusing them on what they are good at.
    3. Look for passion in team members; experience is not necessary. Passion is what matters.
    4. Accept people’s inadequacies; no one is perfect.
    5. Nothing is perfect; ever.
    6. Empower and trust; the foundational building blocks of a leader.
    7. Empathize; if you cannot do this, then you have no business in the NPO/NGO sector.
    8. Results matter; impact grows out of tangible results achieved. Start there.
    9. Kaizen; sustained incremental improvement is more powerful than leaps forward.

Three additional thoughts that I reflect on regularly.

    1. I do not have an MBA; I don’t believe they are essential for social entrepreneurs of nonprofit organizations located anywhere, including developing countries. Business theory and getting shit done rarely coexist.
    2. I focus on my own strengths; I surround myself by people who are good at everything else. I spend no energy improving what I’m not good at.
    3. The global education system doesn’t serve everyone; by design it leaves people behind. For that reason, team members look to employers to further their education.
    4. Parenting matters, family matters, and teachers matter; in that order.