26225930_mNot too long ago I visited an organization. I was there for some meetings with their top folks. At some point, the CEO of the nonprofit and I took some time to talk. He didn’t need to say it, but I was able to read between the lines.

We were talking about his fundraising efforts. I asked him how they were going now that he was past the halfway point. He tried to put a good spin on it, but I could hear it in the tone of his voice. He was talking about their “moderate success” for the year. He was also telling me that he had to “double efforts” before they closed the books at the end of June.

I probed a little further and he hired a chief development officer almost a year before. Apparently, he wasn’t up to the task. He was good at doing a lot of talking. He was also excellent at deflecting. But, it didn’t seem that he was good at his job.

I asked the CEO if he thought about moving on and finding someone new. He reluctantly suggested that was a possibility, but I’m not sure he believed it yet. I closed the thread of conversation with a simple statement that he wanted to make sure he raised the money so they wouldn’t end up cutting.

If you follow my work, you know I’m very big on ownership. Granted, I don’t know the total circumstances on the development officer and his lack-luster performance. However, there are two main issues here that people in business should be aware:

  1. Take ownership
  2. Don’t blame others

It’s simply a matter of integrity.

When you take ownership, you’re demonstrating that you are a professional and you behave that way. I hold my team responsible and accountable for their work. We operate as family, and we foster an awesome team environment. I want people to be happy coming to the office. It’s where they spend most of their waking hours.

However, the expectation in return is that each member of my team members take ownership. They have to own their ideas, work and the execution of whatever they’re tasked to do. We all operate in a highly competitive environment. There’s no time for leaders to try to figure out what’s happening. All types of businesses rise and fail with the weakest link on their team not taking ownership.

That leads me to blaming others. Not cool. Period.

Again, once you’re in a business environment, you need to be a professional. When you take ownership, you don’t deflect from your own work. You don’t blame other people. The buck doesn’t only stop at the top. It stops with every person responsible and accountable for the work at hand.

Eventually, what goes around comes around. Whether you’re the CEO of a nonprofit or social enterprise or a junior assistant in your first job, people will eventually see a pattern. If you are one of those people that prefers to say everything is delayed or not happening because of someone else, tread carefully.

And, if you’re a manager dealing with this type of behavior, be quick to recognize it and move on. There’s too much to be done.


Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: The Rise and Fail of Charities and What You Can Do To Be Ready” (Free Digital Download)


© 2016 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.