Managing Talent Acquisition Risk

Volunteers and staff are the lifeblood of any nonprofit, but they’re not always easy to find! In this workshop NRMC’s Executive Director, Melanie Herman, explains the art and skill of attracting top talent, strategies for managing a talent pipeline, and practical tips for drawing the right people to your organization at the right time. Learn … Continued

Systemic Failure and Risk Management

“You don’t understand anything until you learn it more than one way.” – Marvin Minsky By Glenn Mott The other night, I happened to catch the documentary program “Retro Report” on PBS. Retro Report is a nonprofit news organization that produces mini documentaries that look at today’s news stories through the lens of historical context. Executive … Continued

Understanding and Managing Risk Culture

You don’t have to study risk management for long to realize that workplace culture is a critical component. But how can a single person affect change across an entire organization? This course gives practical tips on building a risk aware workforce and a workplace culture that embraces and strengthens risk management. Find out why and … Continued

Is Your Board an Asset, or a Liability?

By Melanie Lockwood Herman  This week I’ve been reflecting on the role of a nonprofit board in risk management. A nonprofit board is: A line of defense, a powerful radar system that can help detect incoming opportunities as well as threats A vision magnifier, a diverse board helps the management team see far beyond the … Continued

Social Distortion, Personal Responsibility, and Reputational Risk

By Melanie Lockwood Herman “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” – Cool Hand Luke, 1967 This week I’ve been reading Rethinking Reputational Risk: How to Manage the Risks that can Ruin Your Business, Your Reputation and You, by Anthony Fitzsimmons and Derek Atkins. In an early chapter, the authors share the following definition … Continued

Dream a Little Dream: Managing Sleep Deprivation Risks

By Katharine Nesslage Our ambitious 24/7 lifestyles, filled with unbalanced diets, low physical activity, excessive electronic media use, and psychosocial stress, are causing a precipitous decline in our sleep. But the safety implications of sleep deprivation have been known for decades. Precipitating causes of the Three Mile Island nuclear incident (1979), the Exxon Valdez oil … Continued

Don’t be Dispassionate: How to Use Emotional Impulses to Make Better Decisions – Full Article

By Glenn Mott “Heuristic / you risked it.”  —Hank Lazer Recently, I had an opportunity to read a special issue of the Harvard Business Review called “The Brain Science Behind Business”—a compilation of previously published articles about neuroscience. Reading these articles got me thinking about the role of heuristics in risk management. Heuristics refers to … Continued

Heartfelt Risk Lessons From an Authoritarian Piano Teacher

By Christy Grano If you learned to play a musical instrument as a child, like I did, then you may agree that music appreciation does not always happen in the first few lessons. How many of us wish that our 10-year-old selves had recognized the magic of musical expression, rather than avoided practice? Like many … Continued

Clearing the Air: How to Find Powerful Lessons After a Loss or Near Miss

By Melanie Lockwood Herman The hindsight bias, also known as the “I-knew-it-all-along” effect, is the tendency to believe that past events were predictable. In the risk realm, an important part of a risk leader’s responsibility is reflecting on mistakes, losses, near misses and situations that didn’t go as planned or hoped. The NRMC team strongly … Continued

Dampening Drama: Lessons from a Large Family

by Christy Grano I was the oldest of seven siblings, with two military veterans for parents. That’s right, seven kids, just like the Von Trapp family in The Sound of Music. We didn’t march to a whistle or live in a mansion, but efficiency, order, and education were certainly high priorities. Charts mapped out our … Continued

5 Musts to Attract Mission-Motivated Millennials

By Melanie Lockwood Herman While traveling last week an infographic in the Dec 2018/Jan 2019 issue of Fast Company caught my eye. Titled “Millennials in the Corner Office, Gen Y Bosses Tell Us How They Lead,” Yasmin Gagne has compiled the results from a survey on millennial leaders conducted by Fast Company, Inc., and the … Continued

Dangerous Ideas: Negotiating Controversial Art At Cultural Nonprofits

Nota bene: One of the finest sessions among many at our latest Risk Summit in Philadelphia was a program presented by Nick Pozek on the stewardship of cultural nonprofits. Since not everyone had the pleasure of sitting in, NRMC asked Nick if he would write this week’s RISK eNews column, so that our readers could … Continued

Scorched Middle Earth: Banishing The Department of No

by Melanie Lockwood Herman As fans of high fantasy fiction know first-hand, Middle-earth is the fictional setting for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the most widely-read books from English writer J. R. R. Tolkien. According to Wikipedia, “Middle-earth has also become a short-hand to refer to the legendarium and Tolkien’s fictional take … Continued

Don’t Be a Buzzkill: Restore Trust in Risk Leaders

By Erin Gloeckner Recently, an NRMC Affiliate Member wrote to our team asking how to convince her peers that risk management is in fact a mission driver, rather than a drag. Buy-in for risk management initiatives is sometimes hard to obtain because team members are resistant; the other side of the problem is that sometimes … Continued

Not Here: Zero Tolerance for Inappropriate Workplace Conduct

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Last year I attended a leadership conference hosted by Camp Fire, a nonprofit dedicated to helping young people to “find their spark, lift their voices, and discover who they are.” During the opening keynote session, Hal Gregersen, Executive Director of the MIT Leadership Center, reminded his audience that “assumptions act as … Continued

Pass the Remote! The Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs of Telecommuting Teams

by Delia Jones Remote Work: Benefit or Burden? “You should be able to work from anywhere.” A former boss of mine said that a lot and it sounded great. If an employee asked to work from home, my boss would agree with that announcement and leave the second level managers to implement a telecommute solution. … Continued

Sick of Power Plays? Manage Workplace Power Plays & Revenge Risk

“Every time we experience power… we find ourselves at… a fork in the road… we can act in ways that lead us to enjoy enduring power… or we can be seduced by the self-indulgent possibilities that power occasions. Which path you take matters enormously.” – Dacher Keltner, The Power Paradox By Melanie Lockwood Herman This week … Continued

Selfless Leadership: When to Leave Fingerprints

By Melanie Lockwood Herman If you’re a fan of crime dramas, you’re well aware that recovering fingerprints—the impressions left by the friction ridges (raised portion of the epidermis) of a human finger—is often an important part of a crime scene investigation. And when the identity associated with the fingerprints is revealed, it doesn’t always match … Continued

Happy Knot: Managing Workplace Culture Risk

By Melanie Lockwood Herman This week I’ve been reading The Economist’s potpourri of prognostications: “The World in 2018.” In his introduction to the publication, editor Daniel Franklin writes that, “It promises to be a nerve-jangling year.” Check! In my recent risk adventures, it seems like many nonprofit leaders are either waiting for the other shoe to … Continued

Risk Management Advice: Smarts from the Streets

This week’s RISK eNEWS features street smart words of wisdom from risk management leaders who serve in nonprofits, or who serve clients across the nonprofit sector. Find inspiration in this sage risk management advice from your peers, who take bold risks every day! NRMC: Are you a risk taker, or risk averse? Why?   Mike … Continued

Risk Management Leaders Must be Unstoppably Optimistic

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” – Colin Powell By Melanie Lockwood Herman In his article, “How to Lead in 2018,” Fast Company editor Robert Safian beckons his readers to embrace optimistic leadership by staring “unblinkingly at this time of chaos and dig into the difficult work of building a better tomorrow.” Across our work … Continued

Why Your Workplace Needs More Sinners, Fewer Saints

Employers and employees might believe that sainthood is the path to success in the workplace, but I disagree. There are seven of the deadly ‘sins’ that our workplaces desperately need.

Risk Lessons from Soccer’s Sidelines

By Eric Henkel I spent a big chunk of time recently as a supportive sideline spectator at a soccer tournament with my kids. They play on two different teams, so there were a lot of games and not much downtime. While sidelined, it occurred to me that like the parents of competing soccer players, risk … Continued

Motivate Me: Workplace Motivation for Nonprofit Teams

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Have you ever spent an entire day searching for motivation to complete a few simple tasks? Whether your to-do list includes a few loads of laundry, the resorting of your sock drawer, or a report your board has requested repeatedly, feeling demotivated–and guilt-ridden because of it–is a familiar emotion for most. … Continued

No Worries: Mastering Productive Worry

By Melanie Lockwood Herman It’s been nearly 15 years since I first heard the expression “No Worries,” during a trip to Australia. I recall feeling a bit confused when my simple “thank you” was returned with an enthusiastic, “No worries!” But as my trip continued, I found myself appreciating the sentiment that seemed to accompany … Continued

Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut, Trust Your Gut

By Melanie Lockwood Herman “You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” – Alan Alda In last week’s Risk eNews (“Embrace Your Leaky Brain to Conquer the Unknown“) I shared a lesson from the book … Continued

Embrace Your Leaky Brain to Conquer the Unknown

By Melanie Lockwood Herman This week I was dismayed to learn about the damaging effects and destructive force of a leaky faucet. For the past two weeks I have noticed–but repeatedly ignored–a strangely stiff faucet handle and minor leak in one of my sinks at home. Now it’s time to pay the piper, or in … Continued

Cheers to Your Good Health: Integrating Workplace Health Programs

Watch this webinar to learn about how integrating workplace health programs can benefit your nonprofit. Improving employee health can benefit nonprofits in many ways, from boosting employee productivity and morale, to decreasing health care costs.

Commandments of Supervisor-Employee Relationships

Dissatisfaction with supervision is a key factor of voluntary turnover. Fostering healthy and productive supervisor-employee relationships is critical to living out your nonprofit’s values, and to moving your mission forward by retaining talented, dedicated staff and volunteers. Unfortunately, some supervisors lack the soft skills required to foster positive relationships with their team members, and yet … Continued

Q&A: Transgender and Your Nonprofit

With an estimated 700,000 transgender people in the United States, the issues around their fair employment, access to facilities, healthcare, education, and discrimination can influence decisions made by your nonprofit. Are you prepared? Join us for a short question and answer session with Karen Ibach, partner at Montgomery McCracken and Nonprofit Issues Editor, Don Kramer.

Can’t Buy Me Joy (at Work) – Build Trust for Engagement

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Across the nonprofit sector, work teams are gathering for holiday-themed celebrations and modest gift-exchanges, wrapping year-end fundraising appeals and saying a fond farewell to departing board members. And in many workplaces, nonprofit executives, managers and supervisors are taking extra time and care to say ‘thank you’ to their most valuable assets: … Continued

Keeping Your “Promises, Promises”

By Melanie Lockwood Herman “You made me promises, promises, knowing I’d believe. Promises, promises, you knew you’d never keep.” – Promises, Promises by Naked Eyes Several years ago I heard a wonderfully simple definition of accountability: ‘doing what you said you were going to do.’ I often share this definition when I’m leading board orientations, … Continued

Effective Communication & Annual Reviews

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Communication let me down And I’m left here Communication let me down And I’m left here, I’m left here again! “Communication,” Spandau Ballet Last week’s Risk eNews, “Super Size It: Don’t Skimp on Supporting Your New Hire,” seemed to strike a chord with readers, based on the chorus of ‘Amens’ in my … Continued

A Spoonful of Skepticism Helps the Medicine Go Down

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Have you ever attended a board meeting where one of the members seemed to have everything figured out? Or have you ever worked (or lived with!) a ‘know-it-all?” One of my favorite expressions relevant to the world of nonprofit governance is, “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” … Continued

Managing Remote Worker Risk

By Melanie Lockwood Herman You’ve either heard the gossip about remote workers, been the subject of comments about your engagement as a remote worker, or perhaps you’re a dreamer, longing to replace an expensive, lengthy commute with a short walk to your home office. Recent research sheds a bright light on some of the myths … Continued

Safe and Secure: Supporting International Staff

By Eric Henkel The safety and well being of employees is generally a top-of-mind concern for nonprofit leaders. When an organization deploys its staff internationally, additional uncertainty enters the already complex risk landscape. Deployed staff members may work in limited resource environments or in conditions of cultural and political instability. Issues that might seem routine … Continued

Survivor: Office Party

If your office is like others, and is planning an end of year celebration, join us on Tuesday, December 29 at 2:00 pm EST for our final Affiliate Webinar for 2015. We will review seven tips for getting through the festivities like a winner. You don’t have to outwit, outplay and outlast your colleagues to have a … Continued

Myth and Mystery: Managing Workplace Culture Risk

Workplace culture often seems elusive, and many organizations determine that spending time and money on strengthening culture is just not the best use of resources. This webinar addresses some of the risks associated with this viewpoint, myths associated with workplace culture, and tips for enhancing the culture in your organization.

Teamwork is Job One!

A common mistake in nonprofit risk management is delegating responsibility to a single staff member or volunteer. Attend this webinar to learn why an interdisciplinary approach to risk identification is vital, and how a team comprised of players from every level in the organization is the most effective driver for sound risk management. By the … Continued

Just Touching Base: How Customer Service Can Serve Your Nonprofit

Risks associated with customer service may not be what come to mind when you’re analyzing the risks facing your nonprofit. However, since all nonprofits rely on their clients, donors and volunteers, effective interactions can make or break the success of your mission. Poor customer service can lead to a strike out that causes you to … Continued

Human Behavior and Risk Management

When a nonprofit adopts a risk management framework,” deputizes members of a risk management committee, and approves a set of slick policies that have been blessed by counsel, one would expect that the organization’s risk management journey will be relatively smooth and uneventful. But not if there are human beings in the mix! This webinar will explore … Continued

Why Can’t We All Get Along? Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce

Within a few years, five generations of workers will be represented in the nonprofit workforce. Whether you’re a CEO, CFO, HR Director or other senior leader in a nonprofit, you’ve probably encountered a few challenges stemming from the varying perspectives and priorities that workers from different generations bring to your organization. Conflict between generations is … Continued

Obtaining Buy-In and Support for Your Critical Risk Management Policies

Getting staff and volunteers to answer the question: “What’s in it for me?” can be a very effective impetus for following risk management policies. In-service training that elicits their ideas on how to make the workplace safer in general and in their areas specifically will engage people in the solutions and make them understand why … Continued

The Goldilocks Principle: Creating a Culture That’s Just Right

By Melanie Lockwood Herman and Alexandra Ricketts One of your best employees just left the organization and you feel a sense of urgency to replace her. But is it simply time to fill the open chair with a warm body? If your expectations for performance are low, then almost any applicant will do. But if … Continued

Banish Overconfidence to Unleash Originality

April 20, 2016 By Melanie Lockwood Herman I recently purchased tickets to attend one of the stops on Garrison Keillor’s farewell Prairie Home Companion tour. Although I’ve heard it countless times during his weekly radio broadcast and it’s a bit corny, I’m looking forward to hearing–for the last time–the closing line from the Lake Wobegon … Continued

Join the Culture Club

December 23, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman Assuming you love your job, what is it about your nonprofit that makes it a wonderful place to work? Despite the undeniable uniqueness of nonprofits, most organizations have the following elements in common: a compelling mission, a defined leadership structure, multiple stakeholder groups and vulnerability to financial stress … Continued

Be The Boss You Want to Work For

January 20, 2016 By Melanie Lockwood Herman In last week’s Risk eNews, Erin Gloeckner dared readers to promote workplace safety by managing the downside risk of employee sleep deprivation. In the Schumpeter column in this week’s edition of The Economist, (“The other side of paradise,” The Economist, January 16th, 2016), I was intrigued to learn … Continued

Adopt a Total Ban on PED Use While Driving

January 26, 2016 By Melanie Lockwood Herman Since we began offering free RISK HELP to our Affiliate Members in 2012, we have answered a wide array of risk questions–some highly unusual. Last week we received this quirky question from two incredibly different member organizations: should we adopt a complete ban on the use of personal … Continued

Avoid World War Y

March 2, 2016 By Emily Wilson As a member of Generation Y, I am well aware of the stereotypes that we face. We were the last generation to be born before the popularization of texting, and the first to experience social media in our youth. We have a unique lens that allows us to understand … Continued

Drafting the Ideal Team: Risk Lessons from the NFL

By Arley Turner Next week is my favorite event of the pro football offseason, the NFL Draft. During the draft, the General Manager of each franchise often leads the selection of the team’s “draft picks.” Each prospective team member is carefully screened before the GM decides which players will be targeted as new players for … Continued

Poor Communication = Declining Morale

By Melanie Lockwood Herman According to a survey of more than 300 HR managers, a lack of “honest and open communication” tops the list of factors causing low morale in the workplace. The survey, conducted by Accountemps, revealed that the #1 source of low morale in any workforce is poor communication. Although ineffective communication bears … Continued

Coping With Crisis: Managing Employee Fear and Low Morale

In the weeks and months following a major disaster or traumatic event, employers in government entities and nonprofit organizations discover unprecedented levels of fear and concern on the part of staff. The evidence manifests itself in many ways. People with perfect attendance records call in sick at record levels, seriously impairing the organization’s ability to … Continued