Leadership on Point

It’s Time to Act: Ending Sexual Harassment in Nonprofit Organizations

February 28, 2018 Richard Levin

By Richard J. Levin and Sara E. Miller

“That’s simply the way he is. Just don’t find yourself alone in an elevator with him!”

We heard this from the CEO of a nonprofit organization who was given advice about a key donor during her first day on the job. She was receiving “the talk” so many nonprofit professionals have heard before, as if to explain away predatory behavior as the cost of doing business.

In listening to clients and confidants, we have learned that inappropriate sexual behaviors and repugnant power dynamics are playing out not only in Hollywood and government, but in the nonprofit space as well.

(more…)

Read More +

Who Is Harold Leavitt … And Why Should You Care?

October 3, 2011 Meghan Vincent

Harold J. Leavitt's Diamond Model for Analyzing Management Change

The late Harold J. Leavitt was a pioneer in the development of the academic field of organizational behavior, a management expert with degrees from Harvard, Brown and MIT (undergrad, graduate, and doctorate, respectively) and a highly respected college professor (University of Chicago, Carnegie-Mellon University, and Stanford).  And, in 1965, he gave to the world his model for analyzing the impacts organizational change.

Through this model (known as Leavitt’s Diamond), Leavitt demonstrates that each element of an organization’s system – people, goals/tasks, structure and technology/processes – are interdependent.  In other words, changes made to any one of these four elements cannot and will not occur in isolation.  Rather, a change made in any one area of your organization will impact the entire system.

(more…)

Read More +

Crash and Burn: Bad Leader, or Set Up to Fail?

September 26, 2011 Richard Levin

Leaders Set Up To Fail

I was recently asked to advise on a situation in which a senior executive, new to the company, was spiraling downward in his performance.  The executive had been pre-screened by a global search firm and was interviewed by an internal search committee representing numerous corporate functions.  His references were stellar, his executive presence superb. Six weeks into his new job, nearly all of his colleagues and direct reports were in agreement: the hire was a misfire. What went wrong?

The most common response is that the company and its search firm missed something in the executive’s profile, and the executive fell short of expectations.  Our tendency is to focus on what the leader did “wrong”; maybe he failed to engage his team, perhaps he didn’t have great communication skills, possibly he could not articulate his vision or spark people’s (or his own) imagination. In this scenario, the leader’s team is typically presented as competent and well-intentioned, ready to be motivated and inspired by the “right” leader.  The team sees itself as eager and hungry for exceptional leadership, and feels the new leader let them down.  The outcome is a situation in which the leader and the team co-generate an escalating spiral of underperformance, frustration, and anger.

(more…)

Read More +

Are You A Fitness Inspiration, Or Just The Boss?

June 27, 2011 Anne Etra - Guest Author

Fitness and Leadership

There’s a guy at the club where I play tennis who’s a bit of a lunatic on the court.  His footwork is nimble, his hitting aggressive and he runs around fiercely, raising his voice and spewing the occasional expletive.

What I admire about him is his attitude to fitness.

As President and CEO of a successful architectural materials firm in New York City, he’s got the pressure of running a competitive, high-end business.   He takes his fitness seriously, rising most weekdays at 5:30am to get in an hour of exercise that includes strength training and cardiovascular work.  His philosophy is that this keeps his body lean and strong, his brain sharp and his movement agile and energetic, which in turn makes him fitter to lead.  He also considers these sessions ‘stress-relievers’ as they provide an hour of uninterrupted quiet before the madness of the day begins.

(more…)

Read More +