Resources

Infographic: Five Favorite Reads for Risk Professionals

AHT Insurance Partners with NRMC as Corporate Sustainer The NRMC team proudly announces that AHT Insurance has joined our family of Corporate Sustainers. We are grateful for the AHT team’s commitment to provide year-round support for NRMC’s mission. AHT previously sponsored our annual conference, the Risk Summit, and will now continue to do so, while supporting NRMC’s … Continued

Risk Leadership Resources for Nonprofit Risk Champions

November 30, 2017 Explore this RISK eNewsletter filled with risk leadership resources What Star Trek Taught Me about Risk Leadership There’s not exactly a Starfleet Academy for nonprofit risk professionals, like in the beloved television and film series, Star Trek. So how will you know when you reach the status of a commissioned officer, ready … Continued

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

The Illusion of Teams

By Eric Henkel Teams are often viewed as a possible panacea for complex organizational challenges. However, forming and deploying teams to address perennial problems sometimes creates a mirage; leaders believe they see something that isn’t really there. Effective teams are more often an illusion than a reality and many nonprofit leaders are content to believe … Continued

Dream Big: 10 Lessons Learned from Skydiving

By Christine Smith On Monday, I had the opportunity to jump out of a plane from 10,000 feet in the air at 120 miles per hour. Yes, that’s right, I went skydiving! If you’ve seen my bio on the NRMC website, you would know that it was an item on my bucket list. To say … Continued

Belt and Suspenders: Redundancy in Risk Practice

By Melanie Lockwood Herman “Daring and prudence, when used together, lead to new and safe structures.” – Why Buildings Fall Down I was reminded of several risk practice fundamentals this week while reading a fascinating book, Why Buildings Fall Down. The book chronicles structural failures, including the collapse of dams, bridges, stadiums, and buildings, and … Continued

Fascination with Compensation: The Executive Team, the Board, and the IRS

Presenter: Eric Henkel, NRMC When it comes to matters of executive compensation, it can be hard to create an appropriate compensation package. It can be a challenge to balance the need to attract the most qualified individuals for key positions in your organization with the risks related to compensation. This webinar addresses items to consider … Continued

Risk Categorization: Learning from the Risk Leadership Certificate Program

By Erin Gloeckner Our Risk Leadership Certificate Program (RLCP) is underway. With our RLCP cohort, we’ve enjoyed productive generative discussions about core competencies for risk professionals, including risk assessment, risk culture, risk function design, and insurance program oversight. With each conversation, we challenged our understanding of risk management best practices, like risk categorization. Prior to … Continued

New Risk Benchmarking App & Infographic: 5 Riveting Reads for Risk Champions

  The Nonprofit Risk Management Center team is pleased to share our new, free resource: the Risk Benchmarking App. This web application allows nonprofit leaders to compare their organizations’s risk practices to those of peer organizations. The Risk Benchmarking App uses five commonly asked questions to compare nonprofit risk management practices. We plan to add … Continued

What Will You Learn This Year?

By Melanie Lockwood Herman You’ll never know everything about anything, especially something you love.” – Julia Child While perusing this week’s edition of The Economist, I encountered an unfamiliar term: deep learning. According to “Now We’re Talking,” (The Economist, January 7, 2017), deep learning is “an artificial-intelligence technique in which a software system is trained … Continued

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

Drinking from the Hose: Is Your Executive Onboarding Program Effective (and Sane)?

By Erin Gloeckner Transitioning into any new job is often compared to drinking from a fire hose. How quickly can you learn everything about your new role and organization? How long will it take for you to fit in and live out the culture, policies and expectations of your new workplace? And how can you … Continued

Networking Know-How

By Emily Stumhofer Nonprofit leaders often wear multiple hats and many of us begin our workday with an impossible to-do list and a packed schedule. Once you have a clear schedule and routine, there may be little time left for workplace activities that aren’t pre-arranged and scheduled into busy days. One activity that is more … 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

Dueling it Out: Addressing Common Board Conflicts with Confidence

Conflict in a board meeting is often unavoidable, and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Opposing board member viewpoints can lead to an increase in productivity, creativity, and new insights if these conflicts are managed thoughtfully. A constructive conflict in the board room is much like a fencing match: a victory is not achieved through … Continued

Succession Planning: Managing the Risk of Executive Departures

Recent studies suggest that a significant percentage of senior nonprofit leaders will be retiring in the next five years. Yet most nonprofits do not have a succession plan ready to ensure a smooth transition when experienced leaders depart. And despite the fact that the lack of a succession plan keeps countless volunteer board leaders awake … Continued

Hello Goodbye: Succession Planning 101

Countless nonprofit board members and CEOs have faced this million dollar question: “Do we need a succession plan?” which is often followed by confusion and another query: “Do we need a successor ready now?” Attend this webinar to learn the why, what, who, and how of succession planning. Reflect on why your board and/or CEO might be shy of initiating succession … Continued

Engaging the Board in Forecasting and Managing Risk

Ideally, you want managing risk to be second nature to your board and senior managers. Sign on for this 1-hour online program and then point the board towards an enlightened understanding of risk and risk taking. Learn how to keep the board fully apprised of your agency’s risks without causing undue concern or worry. Watch … Continued

Outdated or Poorly Written Governing Documents: What Are the Risks and What Can You Do?

Bylaws, board minutes, codes of conduct, and other governance policies need to be clearly written and reflect how your nonprofit operates or they are of little value in protecting the organization. Their purpose is to provide commonality of behavior, which gives direction to the leadership and protection by intent in the event of a dispute, … Continued

Ready, Mindset, Go!

April 6, 2016 By Melanie Lockwood Herman During two Risk Assessments / ERM engagements for complex nonprofit organizations, our team has shared the idea of a ‘risk aware mindset’ with our clients. What are we referring to? In general, we’re talking about a leadership team that is: Eager to learn, and learn some more Comfortable … Continued

The Dark Side of Leadership

By Melanie Lockwood Herman and Emily Wilson “Sadly, the nonprofit sector is not immune from the harm that destructive leaders leave in their wakes. Destructive leaders are those whose actions cause catastrophic effects on everything from staff morale to workplace safety.” Few nonprofits can thrive or even survive without strong leadership. Yet what happens when … Continued

Level the Playing Field Through Inclusive Meetings

May 4, 2016 By Emily Stumhofer It’s all about perspective. Diverse perspectives can contribute to a more complete and whole view of an organization and its challenges and strengths. Most of us understand the value of obtaining diverse perspectives, and including a variety of people and stakeholders in discussions and meetings, but are we doing … Continued

Employee Engagement: Why Good Isn’t Good Enough

May 12, 2016 By Melanie Lockwood Herman “Respectful treatment of all employees at all levels,” tops the list of factors contributing to over all job satisfaction, according to the 2016 SHRM Employment Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey. Also positive, SHRM–the Society for Human Resource Management–reports that U.S. employees are “more satisfied with their current jobs … 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

Managing Mission Creep

February 24, 2016 By Erin Gloeckner The perennial debate: be good at everything or be great at one thing? I’ve witnessed this struggle at diverse nonprofits during many of the Center’s consulting engagements. The door of opportunity opens and most nonprofit leaders eagerly walk through. We take on additional programs or lines of service based … 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

Why We Shouldn’t Just Get Along

July 22, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman During an interview for a recent Risk Assessment, a staff member at a client nonprofit asked, “Why can’t we just get along?” She continued by describing the actions of senior leaders in her organization, whose behavior toward one another negatively affected employees at all levels of the organization. … Continued

Mindful Leadership

July 29, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman During a recent consulting engagement, a member of my team reminded our client that when an organization adopts a large number of ambitious, complex goals, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Instead of feeling “doable,” success may feel out of reach. The key to tackling big goals, she explained, … Continued

A Little Respect

August 5, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman As anyone who’s ridden in my car, visited my home, or asked me about my taste in music knows, I’m a huge fan of Channel 33 on SiriusXM. My “First Wave” station plays music from the 1980s–from upbeat dance tunes to the bizarre poetic musings of Morrissey. One … Continued

Rebellion: How to Change Your Approach to Learning

August 12, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin The desire to learn on the job is shared by employees from all generations, backgrounds and tenures. Yet promises made to new hires about “learning opportunities” are infrequently supported … Continued

As Luck Will Have It

August 19, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman Dan Ariely’s book, Irrationally Yours, is a collection of his “Ask Ariely” columns featured in The Wall Street Journal. I purchased this book at an airport bookstore after learning that a short flight delay was going to stretch into several hours. As luck would have it, this particular … Continued

Stuck in the Middle

August 26, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman Certain melodies and lyrics get stuck in my head. In 1972, the single “Stuck in the Middle with You,” by Stealers Wheel, took up permanent residence in my brain. Peaking at #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, the song was apparently inspired by a business lunch, … Continued

Why Sorry is the Hardest Word

September 9, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman This weekend I had an opportunity to watch a program titled “Cardinal Seán” featured in a re-run of the television program, 60 Minutes. The subject of the program was Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston. One of the most compelling moments in the broadcast was a video clip … Continued

How the Grinch Stole the Workplace

January 22, 2015 By Erin Gloeckner It’s normal to have a cranky day at work, but string together too many cranky days and you might start sounding like the Grinch. You’ve worked with a Grinch before—that employee who makes snide remarks, starts rumors, complains without end, or uses body language and other behaviors to display … Continued

Break Free: The Big Payoff from Kicking the Habit

April 1, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman Leaders are guided and inspired by the missions and values of the organizations they serve when they are called on to balance risk and reward in programming. And when it comes to the toughest choices, most leaders go with their gut. But what if your gut is leading … Continued

Hire an Architect, Not a Drill Sergeant to Lead Your Volunteers

April 15, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman We are celebrating National Volunteer Week by reflecting on some of the challenges (opportunities!) facing volunteer programs in the U.S. Despite differences in leadership styles, we’ve noticed a striking similarity among volunteer program leaders: many view their role as that of a drill sergeant responsible for developing and … Continued

Think Again: How Outsmarting Yourself Can Lead to Better Decisions

April 29, 2015 By Emily Stumhofer Risk leaders in the public sector make decisions every day. Did you know that how you reach a decision is based in part on the neural pathways in your brain? And by the time you reach your mid- to late-20s, many pathways are “hard wired.” These well worn pathways … Continued

Inspire True and Triumphant Teams

June 10, 2015 By Melanie Lockwood Herman Few leaders are willing to face the wrath of their friends and peers and speak ill of “teamwork.” Yet too often we use the words “team” and “teamwork” when we really mean work groups or a process involving a group of co-workers, while ignoring some of the difficult … Continued

Make Safety a Habit

Most of us have at least one bad habit we’d like to kick. But the term “habit” doesn’t deserve a bad rap. Habit can, and should, be a positive concept in a public entity. Nowhere is habit more important than the area of workplace safety. A safe workplace, summer camp, clinic, training site or residence … Continued

Boiling the Frog: Fighting the Slippery Slope of Ethical Indiscretions in the Workplace

By Emily C. Stumhofer A familiar anecdote suggests that if a frog is dropped into a pot of boiling water, he will immediately jump out, but if he is dropped into a pot of cool water that is gradually heated, he won’t perceive the danger, and will be cooked to death. Although some recent science … Continued

Enough is Enough: Banish Meeting Madness

By Emily Stumhofer We all go to meetings, sometimes even multiple meetings in the same day. A recent Bain & Company study reports that managers spend 15 percent of their time in meetings, and executives spend two full days per week in meetings. And according to a report on the “state of the modern meeting” … Continued

How to be the World’s Smartest Risk Manager

By Melanie Lockwood Herman I’ve just finished the National Geographic book, “How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler.” Who doesn’t want to be the world’s “smartest” anything?! As a big fan of the expression, “don’t believe everything you read,” I had no expectation of becoming the world’s smartest traveler when I cracked the cover of … Continued

Leadership is Hard

By Melanie Lockwood Herman This week I’ve been reading “The Hard Thing About Hard Things,” by Ben Horowitz, the former CEO of Opsware, whose company was acquired by HP for $1.6 Billion in 2007. What practical advice might a Silicon Valley tech executive turned venture capitalist have to offer nonprofit CEOs and risk champions? Brutal … Continued

Shift Happens

By Melanie Lockwood Herman I’ve been engrossed in the pages of a new book this week: Surviving and Thriving in Uncertainty: Creating the Risk Intelligent Enterprise by Frederick Funston and Stephen Wagner. The pages of this text offer a refreshing approach to integrating the principles of effective risk management into organizational planning, strategy-setting and decision … Continued

Listen While You Work

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Earlier this month I had an opportunity to hear a keynote presentation on leadership by Dr. John C. Maxwell. During his thought-provoking address at the 2010 General Assembly of YMCAs, Dr. Maxwell discussed “levels” of leadership and the reasons why we follow others. He pointed out a common error made by … Continued

Brain Freeze

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Once again I’m intrigued by and caught up in the latest research and analysis on the human brain. I’ve been re-reading “The New Science of the Teenage Brain,” featured in the October 2011 issue of National Geographic, and I’ve begun reading Michael Shermer’s new book, The Believing Brain. Both publications offer … Continued

Is Your Door Open?

By Melanie Lockwood Herman I enjoy reading about and observing the intersection of human nature and “best practices” in organizational management. This week I had an opportunity to read the October 2011 edition of HR Magazine, the monthly publication of the Society for Human Resource Management, and I also finished reading Mob Rules: What the … Continued

May I Have Your Attention Please?

By Melanie Lockwood Herman This week I’ve been reading Daniel Kahneman’s terrific book, Thinking Fast and Slow. Many readers will recognize the author as the past recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences and recall his ground-breaking work—with Amos Tversky—on the subject of decision-making. Kahneman begins Thinking Fast and Slow by reminding his reader … Continued

To Lead

By Melanie Lockwood Herman I am blessed to be able to witness the work of and work with many great leaders. Few days go by when I don’t learn from a member of my own board, from colleagues with whom I sit on other boards, or from members of the management teams and boards I … Continued

Risk Oversight: Who Dunnit?

By Erin Gloeckner When I first heard the term risk oversight, I imagined a risk manager following clues in a deerstalker hat like Sherlock Holmes. I thought risk oversight meant chasing down the villain who allowed the risk to materialize. But risk oversight is not about blaming people when downside risks materialize. Those responsible for … Continued

Risk Talking at Your Nonprofit

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Talking about risk is essential to fortifying your nonprofit’s reputation and mission, and providing a safe environment for the people who serve and those who rely on you for services. Yet starting a conversation about “what could go wrong” isn’t always easy to do. During a recent conversation with a client, … Continued

It’s Not Me, It’s You!

By Melanie Lockwood Herman One of my favorite parts of the Seinfeld episode titled “The Lip Reader,” is when Gwen tries to soften her break-up with George by saying, “It’s not you, it’s me.” George responds, “You’re giving me the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ routine? I invented ‘It’s not you, it’s me.’ Nobody tells … Continued

Avoid Transition Trauma with a CEO Succession Plan

by Melanie Lockwood Herman and Erin Gloeckner CEO succession planning can be a touchy subject. Members of a nonprofit board may fear the risk of insulting a CEO by suggesting the topic as an agenda item. Some CEOs may feel disinclined to raise the subject because it could send mixed signals about their intent to … Continued