Reviving theological schools (and other sagging nonprofits) the McDonald’s way

A Wall Street Journal article titled “How to Revive McDonald’s” is an unexpected source of wise words for leaders in theological education, but that’s what I found there. Okay, so having just spent two days with a seminary board likely influenced the way I read the piece. However, I think I would have picked up […]

If it’s not broken, fix it anyway.

Change doesn’t come easy, even in the direst of organizational circumstances. We humans are expert at denying the obvious. Never mind that the ship is taking on water faster than we can bail, hope springs eternal of a sunny tomorrow. It is, after all, only a day away. So imagine the challenge of nudging folks […]

Shared governance for tough times

These are tough days for leaders in higher education and especially so for those at the helm of a theological school. Everywhere I go, boards and presidents are on the hunt for the big idea — the game changer – the Eureka moment that will save the day. I find little patience for or interest […]

New leader, you thought the board wanted what?

Nonprofit boards are prone to seek a change-agent as their next CEO. You know, a visionary who can inspire the masses and kick a few strategic asses. A “savior” who, without breaking a sweat, rights all wrongs, separates wheat from chaff, and sets the organization on the path to success.  Within the first 90 days […]

Before attacking organizational culture, read this.

I don’t know the identity of the “wise ones” who are preaching the gospel of slash and burn leadership. But should I bump into one of them, I fear my commitment to civil discourse will be at risk. You know who I mean — the management gurus who label organizational culture as the enemy of […]

The adaptability to change, long life correlation

During the funeral service earlier this week for my 91 year-old mother-in-law, Jean Basinger Schumacher, her pastor identified adaptability to change as a unifying characteristic among old-old people. Family history, lifestyle, and economic status matter, but it seems that one’s approach to change counts most for length of days. Folks who roll with the punches […]

Innovation without (much) change

When talking innovation, CEOs and board members usually have in mind outside-the-box, over-the-moon, home-run kinds of initiatives. And woe to anyone who suggests that enhancements to “is” might reap a better return than chasing “could be.” It’s off with their heads. But hold the guillotine. This just in from the Harvard Business Review: Most of the […]

Act now to break the insanity cycle in fundraising

I wish it wasn’t so, but the financial reality of way too many ministry organizations makes it tough to believe that God is enough. The specter of scarcity seems to lurk around every corner, and especially so at fiscal year-end.  Organizational leaders can talk ’til the cows come home about confidence in God’s abundance, but the words ring hollow […]