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For most nonprofits growth and, in fact, survival is equated to an unceasing struggle for more resources —revenue, staff, members or customers. The mantra is “more”—more programs, members or revenue will solve their problems. Yet, in today’s economy it is leverage rather than quantity, innovation rather than production that yields solutions. Take the case of Facebook cited in a Fast Company article.

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Most of us “play it by ear” when it comes to the execution of a new concept. Our focus is on acquiring ideas or information—planning, reading, discussing, hearing or analyzing them. When it comes to execution, we rely on the same old tools we always used and settle for ad hoc activities and initiatives. Yet one cannot achieve systems-wide change by “understanding” the concept or generating detailed plans. What these require are fundamental changes in the way organizations think and behave.

It is the execution of change rather than the ideas, themselves, where the rubber meets the road. Paradoxically, however, there are no tools or systems approaches for “executing” innovation.

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In the course of 12 years, SEPA’s CEO, Julia Hamm, would transform her association from one with a niche focus on solar power to a leader in the energy industry —building key coalitions among multiple stakeholders and playing an important role in efforts to bring energy delivery to the 21st century and provide efficient, affordable options to consumers.

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An article in Harvard Business Review, titled The Performance Management Revolution reports that more than one-third of U.S. companies are abandoning the traditional annual performance review in favor of less formal, more dynamic and frequent “check- ins” with employees throughout the year. These conversations provide immediate performance feedback in specific contexts and aim at future improvement rather than rewards or punishment.

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