Premise:Can we say that today’s non-profit leaders need entrepreneurial skills to manage their organization and solve social problems? Are planning creatively, thinking strategically, and motivating others to do the same, important in today’s times? I have advocated for the efficacy of collaboration among non-profits in order to better serve the community and attract foundation and government funding. What are the skills needed?
Entrepreneurial skills: Goals and strategies are important, but they take on a different perspective.
Focused and laser vision: The ability to foresee clearly the possibilities and/or probabilities in the future, and then to express them in a positive way to others.
Realistic business strategies: We used to say that a 5-year business plan was recommended. Few organizations in today’s times can predict what their existence may be in 5 years. Maybe a better approach is more ‘what if’ strategies, to be more prepared for uncertainty.
Analytical skills: Looking at all the facts (budgets, funding sources, strengths, successes and failures), and researching what other like organizations are doing, then proposing solutions for the future.
Creativity, collaboration and confidence building:
Entrepreneurs are often the visionaries who see so far ahead that others become lost and/or frustrated – especially if the Board of Directors has been the same for a long period of time. Using the entrepreneurial skills wisely means patience on many sides. Thinking creatively, having the patience to bring others along, and building confidence in the decisions are also part of the true entrepreneur, if he/she wants to be successful.
Open to Opportunities: The entrepreneur often sees problems as opportunities. The skills part of this characteristic is being determined, convincing others, and having a convincing, factual argument prepared.
Risk for Reward: Yes, entrepreneurs are known for taking risks. But the skill set has many qualities that can be used in today’s uncertain times for non-profits. If you don’t step forward you’re always in the same place.
Author: Adrianne Geiger DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org