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What We're Learning | May 2024

by Leading Edge

Here's what the Leading Edge team is learning about culture, executives, and boards this month.

Happy, Healthy Nonprofit People with Beth Kanter

Podcast: Happy, Healthy Nonprofit People

Beth Kanter, nonprofit technology expert and co-author of the book Happy, Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact Without Burnout, presents strategies and practical tips for creating happy, healthy, nonprofit workers and workplaces in this Fund the People podcast episode. Learn about how nonprofit wellbeing has changed over the past several years, tangible tools for preventing burnout at the individual and organizational levels, if better salaries is the answer to reducing burnout, how to incorporate AI in nonprofit wellness, and more.


  • Graphic of two exhausted workers.

    We’re permanently seeing red

    Many Jewish communal professionals were deeply affected by Barry Finestone’s thoughtful piece “Getting the Jewish workforce out of ‘The Red Zone’,” written as a call to funders and reflecting on professional coaching expert Susan Britton’s Red and Blue Zones. Writing in service to the community, the authors of this article call on Jewish communal leaders and funders across the organizational spectrum to critically examine this moment and find responsive solutions to address both the challenges of the red zone and the risks implied in making change.


  • The Ritual Effect by Michael Norton

    Book: Why Work Rituals Bring Teams Together and Create More Meaning

    From weekly lunch dates with colleagues to bedtime stories with children, we often rely on rituals to relax and bond with others. While it may feel awkward to introduce team-building rituals in the workplace, the truth is, the practices improve performance, says Harvard Business School Professor Michael Norton in his book The Ritual Effect. When these experiences become ingrained, they can become imbued with meaning.



  • A woman is lying face-down on a sofa.

    Onboarding New Employees — Without Overwhelming Them

    In trying to ensure new employees feel supported and properly prepared, some organizations flood new hires with far too much information. Even if managers have the best intentions, bombarding new hires with tasks will backfire. Three strategies can help organizations mitigate this overload and ensure employees have the space, time, and mental resources available to learn and thrive in their new job.


  • Graphic of intricate pipes forming network.

    Build Your Culture Like a Product — Lessons from Asana’s Head of People

    In the early stages of company building, all-out product focus tends to overshadow functions that become essential when the org starts to scale. As Asana’s Head of People, Anna Binder tackles culture building like a product manager. In this interview, she offers insights on how other startup leaders can do the same — whether they’re in the people org, or supporting the cultural building process from across other corners of the business.



  • Employees engage during a meeting.

    Conflict on Nonprofit Boards: Strategies for Constructive Resolution

    Every nonprofit will face nonprofit board conflict at some point, but it doesn't have to be something that adversely harms the organization. By being proactive and immediately addressing conflict, nonprofits position themselves to get past it and back to focusing on the vital work of their missions. Boards and executives can fulfill their responsibilities with wisdom, empathy and compassion.


  • Graphic of workers holding up an arrow sign.

    Strengthening Boards to Navigate the Intersection of Profit and Purpose

    Recent research revealed that boards have a critical role to play in enabling hybrid organizations — organizations that simultaneously pursue social and commercial goals — to sustain the pursuit of their multiple goals. The challenge facing hybrid boards is that diverse board members have different and sometimes competing cultures and priorities. This article outlines guidelines to strengthen effective governance processes, which can prevent the fracture of diverse boards into opposing factions and enhance the pursuit of these multiple objectives.


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