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What can we learn from “Smart CEOs”?

The February 2010 edition of SmartCEO includes in its 10 Things column a list of ways one can build a superior company.  Called the “Excellence Challenge,” the list contains suggestions from organizational psychologists Ken Wexley and Doug Strouse.  These recommendations offer a useful list that can work for any nonprofit Executive Director/CEO:

  1. Be Receptive to New Ideas
  2. Focus on the Big Picture
  3. Foster Mentoring
  4. Show Interest in Others
  5. Communicate
  6. Empower Others
  7. Take Appropriate Risk
  8. Inspire Trust
  9. Become a Servant Leader
  10. Exhibit Optimism

It is remarkable to note how many of these suggestions are focused not on what we might refer to as technical business skills, but rather on person-to-person interaction – communication, mentoring, empowerment, showing interest, etc.  Over the years, as I have participated in the selection process of the Washington Post Awards for Excellence in Nonprofit Management, I have found that this emphasis on people management is absolutely critical.  Those organizations whose leaders create an atmosphere that celebrates and recognizes the contributions and importance of the people who make their work possible are often the organizations that excel.  It is a real success factor for organizations that want to take themselves to the highest levels of achievement.  Leaders that use these 10 ways to advance their organizations will also find that many potential donors and partners will want to join them in being part of such a successful organization.  It’s a great recipe for development.

I urge you to take a look at this list.  You can find the entire article – including a more detailed description of the 10 suggestions – online at SmartCEO’s digital magazine site.

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