Mike Zimmer
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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

It’s annual meeting time again for my nonprofit and I find myself working on another PowerPoint presentation to wow the assembled board members, volunteers and guests.  Last year, I tried to spice things up
It’s annual meeting time again for my nonprofit and I find myself working on another PowerPoint presentation to wow the assembled board members, volunteers and guests.  Last year, I tried to spice things up by adding sound effects and music to my presentation.  After all, our meetings are a casual affair held at local restaurants and featuring a generous cocktail hour beforehand. 
By all accounts our meeting/party last year was a great success.
That’s why I was rather surprised to hear this comment at a committee meeting last week from my Board President “Mike, are you going to give another presentation at the annual meeting this year?  If so, please don’t have any music or effects in it, people complained about that last time.”  He quickly added that I really was my call because it’s my presentation and he rather liked last year’s show. Was I stunned by this revelation? Unfortunately I was not. Long ago I found out the truth to the old cliché “you can’t please everyone.”  I’m just surprised that I didn’t hear about this “complaint” via back-channel communication (a.k.a. rumor mill) long ago.
Regardless, the crux of the matter is will I add sound effects and music to this year’s presentation?  You bet I will!

Mike

What Exactly is Taming the Two-Headed Dragon anyway?

I'm glad you asked. The two-headed dragon is my nickname for nonprofit organizations. Why do I label them two-headed? Because the board of directors that oversee a nonprofit organization wants you (the nonprofit executive) to lead them as well as answer to them, hence the polycephalic nature of the job.

Okay if that is so, why do they need to be tamed?

I'm glad you asked. The two-headed dragon is my nickname for nonprofit organizations. Why do I label them two-headed? Because the board of directors that oversee a nonprofit organization wants you (the nonprofit executive) to lead them as well as answer to them, hence the polycephalic nature of the job.

Okay if that is so, why do they need to be tamed? Another fine question. They need to be tamed because they are a most unruly form of organization and for the nonprofit professional they can be both a fine occupation and a veritable nightmare. Over my nearly 20 years working in, and leading nonprofit’s the comment I've heard most often is: "leading this organization is like herding cats."
That's where “Taming the Two-Headed Dragon” comes in . . . hopefully to the rescue! I'm dedicating this blog to compiling and disseminating information to help those trapped (did I say trapped?) in a nonprofit leadership position. I'm sure you've heard all of the statistics regarding turnover within this field, and I'm sure that if you are currently working in a nonprofit, you've dreamed from time to time about escaping to the private sector. It's time to push those dreams aside and begin taming the dragon!

In the future I will begin posting my own observations and strategies as well as discussing the latest nonprofit leadership and governance theories. This will be a forum to do a little creative venting (let's keep it all above the belt) sharing of tips and techniques and discussing new ideas. All of this as we stroll toward those broad sunlit uplands where the best nonprofit executives dwell.


Mike