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Are we creating heartfelt experiences at our nonprofit or not? Is that experience stunning?

May 16, 2013 5 comments

There comes a time where we have to make a decision. What will we invest in? It is a serious question and not a budget exercise. If we are going to be intentional and proactive, we need to make an investment. At first that may be just time. Eventually it will be about people, our processes, our strategies and our technology. If we don’t become intentional in our approach to our digital constituent experiences we will continue to be haphazard in our approach; reacting, responding, solving toxic experiences in real time. This intention however must be about heartfelt experiences. It must create a passion for our mission.

There is of course, a very real cost to reacting. Scrutinize your budget and you will see that most of our fixed expenses are reactionary. What if we invested in proactive and intentional experiences of the heart up front? Could we radically reduce our reactionary and bloated fixed expenses? In fact, my guess is the reactionary expenses vastly exceed proactive expenses. I know nonprofits that are ramping up their expenses in reactionary engagement and relationships. The good news is that they are succeeding in shifting the negative to neutral or even the positive.

So what is the outcome of taking a negative and balancing it with a positive? Is it engagement or damage control? So what is the cost and value of neutralizing the negative? Shouldn’t we start with the amazing? What is the return on that investment in the stunning? What is probably most concerning is that most nonprofits are not measuring much of this. And why are we struggling to raise more money? Now think about that question. Why is our revenue flat? Why are donors not engaged and renewing their contributions?

Is the experience we are creating wonderfully sharable? If not, what is our investment over the next 3 months going to be in changing that? We must invest in not only a positive experience but an experience that screams out for our members, volunteers and donors to share it with everyone they know. That encourages others to join in. It also offsets any negative experiences anyone else has shared. Think about it. We all read the ratings and comments. If there are 100 over the top ones we can ignore the one that is virally negative writing it off to a weirdo.

What is the biggest deal? Trying to offset the negative experiences or proactively creating amazing ones? Creating amazing ones is everything. That is not an exaggeration. You know, from your own experiences that it is true. The cost of reacting is always eclipsed by the upside of the stunning.

Think of what you want. You are a consumer. You are the constituent who wants something from your nonprofit. Are you looking for the ordinary? No, you are looking for an experience, no, the experience.

Any nonprofit that recognizes you, remembers you, and gives you an amazing service experience will win your heart. And it is all about your heart. You will be loyal to them no matter what. That is what we know as relevance. A passion of our heart that transcends anything else.

And so, that heartfelt experience is not just a so-so something. It is everything. That kind of vision is the father of innovation. Who needs the mother of invention in that kind of world?

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Use your personal smartphone for work email? Your company might take it

If you use your personal smartphone or tablet to read work email, your company may have to seize the device some day, and you may not get it back for months. Employees armed with a battery of smartphones and other gadgets they own are casually connecting to work email and other employer servers. It’s a less-than-ideal security arrangement that technology pros call BYOD — bring your own device.

Now, lawyers are warning there’s an unforeseen consequence of BYOD. If a company is involved in litigation — civil or criminal — personal cellphones that were used for work email or other company activity are liable to be confiscated and examined for evidence during discovery or investigation.

More here: Use your personal smartphone for work email? Your company might take it – Red Tape.

What is CoIT and why is it important to the nonprofit C-Suite?

IT budgets are down 5%, yet tech spending is up 18 to 20%. Why? Consumerization of IT (CoIT) enables the business side to take charge of technology decisions. With business seeking solutions that are simple, scalable, and sexy, line of business leaders who make technology decisions also must consider safety, security, and sustainability of those technology decisions.

CoIT and the new C-suite looks into the policies, technologies, and collaboration frameworks required to support the speed of business and the scalability of IT. LEAN and agile process methodologies are talking hold. It is essentially a fasten your seat belt time for nonprofit executives.

As technology democratizes across the organization, how will your nonprofit prepare for a world where consumer technologies may be more powerful than those in the enterprise? How will you harness the innovation without suffering from an external disruptive force? Join Business Technology Partner as we take the journey in consumerization and the impact on the new nonprofit C-suite.

Johns Hopkins Infographic: What makes nonprofits special?

Johns Hopkins University released a study in December of 2012 that surveyed the core values that distinguish nonprofits, entitled “What Do Nonprofits Stand For? Renewing the nonprofit value commitment.” Now, Johns Hopkins has released an infographic featuring those seven key values the surveyors viewed as making nonprofits stand out:

  • Productive
  • Effective
  • Enriching
  • Empowering
  • Responsive
  • Reliable
  • Caring

The infographic is shown below:

What makes nonprofits special

via Johns Hopkins Infographic: What Makes Nonprofits Special? – NPQ – Nonprofit Quarterly.

Will you shape the vision?

IT is like business engine, CIOs are accountable for critical part of business that is constantly changing and evolving. Contemporary CIOs should be capable of evolving leadership skills to not only match pace with the changes in technology and the pace at which organization can effectively manage these changes, but also proactively drive changes in business transformation.

Shape the Vision: CIO and his/her team can play a large role in shaping a vision of the firm as a place where passionate individuals want to connect with and learn from one another. CIO offices also have a significant responsibility to choose and deploy the IT that will help their firms realize the vision. Simply put, IT can no longer just be about numbers and algorithms; it has an opportunity to be a significant catalyst for passion and a tool for encouraging questing and connecting the innovation dots.

Ignite Passion: The range of technologies have emerged that can help foster a deeper sense of connection and purpose in employees, ignite latent worker passion and bring together disparate parts of the organization. But these new tools also necessitate a new way of thinking, a creative way to do things and a flexible way to work smartly.

Set Evolution: The emergence of the CIO coincided with the birth of the PC and end user computing. That role certainly matured as the Internet age unfolded. Now, it’s social, mobile, consumerization of IT, Big Data and a major shift in how IT services are delivered (cloud). These changes are inspiring spiritual conversations around the role of the CIO, these are all evolutionary and in some ways even predictable.

What is your new ecosystem?

The need for change is obvious. The CIO as change agent not only touches his/her own function, but also need make influence on entire organization and business ecosystem as well, it takes strategic planning, methodology and practice in orchestrating such transformation. This is a big deal. If the business isn’t strategic it will be impossible for technology to be strategic as well.

Define Roadmap: In fact, the required changes, at the most fundamental level, need be well documented. A clearly defined roadmap is available, and industry best practices are in place to serve as a framework upon which the solution can be implemented over time. The transformation to a more proactive service/solution delivery organization with repeatable management processes in place of the ‘crisis of the day’ leadership model, can be a reality, but only if the CIO is the proactive, visible and charismatic sponsor.

Optimize Process: Meanwhile, to compete, business unit leaders need IT to ensure the availability and reliability of their business process automation tools/technology, so their staff can function as efficiently as promised, back when they justified the tool purchase. In fact, many organizations have little insight into their cost structures and who is consuming the assets. They have no idea where they are spending their money on and often assume it is mainly being spent on items which are actually much lower on the list. Every IT finance group can capture costs but the challenge is to have visibility and traceability between costs and the assets consuming those costs. The leadership team needs IT to be the business process optimization expert for the company, to find creative sources for competitive advantages, to better compete.

Ask for Help: One of the first things a CIO must do in a transformation initiative of this magnitude is to ask the business for help. The effort will fail if the business units are unwilling to invest resources and accept a “period of pain” where service levels may be adversely impacted. CIO can envision themselves talking with business unit leaders, selling them on the challenges and the vision for the future. Will CIO be open to new perspective, willing to adapt the new skill set to the demands of evolving technology or adapt their role to the evolving business requirements for technology? Will CIO be learning agile to understand business ecosystem and connect innovation dot cross-functional, cross-industrial and cross-cultural border? It takes both attitude and aptitude.

Will you transform the culture?

Many IT departments are still reeling from the “slam it in and fix it on the fly” approach that was required by the rush to automate all core business processes (late 1990s & early 2000s). A reactive, crisis-driven and internally focused ‘systems management’ culture evolved as a result, such culture becomes barrier for IT to reach higher level maturity.

From “Heroic effort” to “Collaboration Effect”: IT department-wide culture is maintained by a ‘Heroic effort’ reward system, a value system that is proving to be nearly intractable. Along with the Hero mentality, expertise silo evolved a non-collaborative, finger-pointing culture that renders truly effective SLAs impossible to measure & enforce. A fundamental change in the heroic effort rewards culture is required to put an end to the reactive, crisis-driven and technology systems focused role for the IT department, and shift to business-driven, collaborative IT mentality because the business requirements for technology management have changed. The rapid push for offering ‘cloud-based’ services and the need to retool IT to centrally manage these, is certainly a perfect opportunity to rethink the role of IT and make a cogent case for a service-level driven rewards and recognition culture

The transformation journey must start with the CIO. However, very few CIOs are willing to step away from the existing IT management paradigm and hero-based rewards culture to adopt a new role as a culture change transformation sponsor. This has not been a required leadership skill-set for the CIO role to date. It is a dramatic change in skills, priorities and rewards tactics. Can veteran CIOs who came up the ranks accept this need for a dramatic change in IT culture? Will they have the required skill set to sponsor such a change? Do they have the charisma to achieve buy-in from the current IT staff. Or will it take a crisis? CIOs must drive the elimination of the heroic effort reward culture. This is the principal challenge for current “up through the ranks” CIOs. Recognizing the need for this fundamental change has not been easy for most veteran CIOs.

Be Change Agent to retool Organizational Culture: Culture is perhaps the most invisible, but powerful fabric surrounding organization, the toxic culture like water, which can sink the enterprise ship, IT is also at unique position to well align people, process and the latest technology to empower talent, enforce communication, enhance governance, and enable cross-functional collaboration, to retool organizational culture for achieving high business performance potential.

 

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