CompassPoints of View

Step Outside Your Bubble: The Power in Viewing Organizational Change from Another’s Perspective

At CompassPoint, we work with individual leaders and organizations to make the most of change. While change can bring about uncertainty and tension, it's also an opportunity to build resiliency and strength across systems. In this blog post, Lupe Poblano surfaces what's at the crux of many difficult transitions: making room for multiple perspectives and individual interests while keeping the needs of the entire organization front and center.

"Although there is no progress without change, not all change is progress."– John Wooden


Executive Director as Creative Magician?

As the leader of a creative organization, many expect Grant Faulkner, executive director of National Novel Writing Month and our guest blogger this week, to be a natural when it comes to conjuring a magical workplace. How is he doing? Read on to learn some ideas from Grant and the NaNoWriMo team that you can use to lighten up your workplace—and suggest some ideas of your own. Making the world a better place is hard work—shouldn’t we make the trip as fun as possible?

I was recently on a panel of executive directors, and I was asked, "How do you bring magic into the workplace?"

I might have blushed with embarrassment. My first thought, was, "Um, I'm not sure if I do bring magic into the workplace." I'm not necessarily a geyser of inspiration, at least not on an ordinary workday. I don't preach, swagger, or sing. I occasionally read a motivational quote or two, but only occasionally.

My next thought was that I don't think my staff—or my colleagues and friends, as I'd prefer to think of them—necessarily look to me to bring any magic into the workplace. Who appointed me the bestower of motivational spells, after all?  

8 Ways to Better Board Meetings

The job of board members is very complex, and by nature, intensely collaborative. Making the most of board meetings isn’t just a good habit to aspire to, it’s essential to good governance, strong leadership, and healthy organizations. In this blog, CompassPoint Senior Project Director Marla Cornelius shares eight actionable tips to unlock the potential of board members so they can make the most of their time together.

They are such a waste of time! People are never prepared! We don’t focus on the right things! These are common complaints we hear about meetings—and board meetings are no exception. Perhaps there are some meetings that can be eliminated, but because governance is a collective process, meetings are a necessity of board work. But really, the problem isn’t meetings. The problem is bad meetings. And bad meetings are not just a frustration, they’re a barrier to important work. Good meetings increase member engagement, maximize collective wisdom, and ensure the right focus at the right time. Here are some ideas to set you on a path to better board meetings.

Domestic Violence and the Shackles of the Single Story

In our blog this week, Jennifer Chen Speckman, Director of Westside Domestic Violence Network (WDVN)  and current participant of the Strong Field Project Leadership Development Program, urges readers to break the binds of the "single stories" that can often dominate, define, and stifle movements. Only when full stories are told can true understanding, engagement, and solutions emerge. Do you agree?

Does Your Board Foster Inclusivity?

BoardSource recently released Leading with Intenttheir 2014 index of nonprofit board practices (download for free from their website). In this post, CompassPoint governance consultant and trainer Marla Cornelius looks at the report’s findings in the area of inclusion, a critical component of board culture, and what might be behind a concerning disconnect revealed in the data. She encourages executives and board leaders to read the full report and bring the information that they find most useful to an upcoming board meeting.

The Rare Gift of Time Helps the Whole Organization

Emily Cohen Raskin is the executive director of O2 Initiatives, where she directs the O2 Sabbatical Award program. In addition to her role with O2 Initiatives, she also serves as Senior Associate at Hirsch & Associates, an advisory firm that works with families, foundations, and corporations to maximize the impact of their philanthropy. 

In this guest blog, Emily talks about the value of sabbaticals for both recipients and their organizations. O2 just launched the inaugural year of its Sabbatical Award. CompassPoint is pleased to be providing coaching to recipients and their organizations to help them make the most of this opportunity to reflect, stretch, and grow.

6 Valentines for Social Changemakers

At CompassPoint, we believe in creating a culture where feedback is shared every day, and that means sharing appreciations (not just developmental feedback) early and often. This week, we're helping you do that by sharing these Valentines with messages for the friends and colleagues in your life commited to moving social change forward. 

This weekend is Valentine's day, and what better way to celebrate than to share your appreciation for the people in your life commited to the causes you care about most? Here are six Valentines ready to be shared with the social change makers in your life. Print them and hand them out, or save them to your desktop to share on social media!


Introducing Our Arc Toward Justice Leadership and Solidarity Program Participants

Last month, the Akonadi Foundation launched the Arc Toward Justice Leadership and Solidarity Program. CompassPoint is excited to facilitate a cohort of twenty dynamic leaders working toward a racially just society for youth of color in Oakland. Over the next year, this group of leaders will explore leadership frameworks, learn about strength-based leadership, dive into coaching, and engage with themes of self-care and sustainability. 


A Sense of Self & My Low-Income / Black Privilege

Kad Smith’s participation in the CompassPoint workshop Communicating Across Differences: Why Culture, Power, and Privilege Matter prompted him to reflect on power and privilege and how sightlines on these issues can shift depending on the lens you place on your personal experience. In the spirit of thoughtful and thought-provoking discourse, we’re pleased to share below Kad’s first-person account excerpted from his blog (read the full-length piece on his blog here).

12 Resources for your Self-Care Starter Kit

Maro Guevara and sujin lee

At CompassPoint, we believe that nonprofit leaders and social change makers are more resilient and can work sustainably when they have a practice of self-care. Embedding self-care into our work has become a theme for our own organization and a fundamental part of how we work alongside others to create sustainable ways of moving toward change. 

As you start to set commitments for the coming year, are you remembering to include self-care on that list? Developing a practice of daily self-care can be an essential contributor to success in 2015—for you and your organization. In fact, a consistent practice of self-care can be the underlying current driving and reinvigorating your other commitments and goals as you move through the year. Below are some resources to help you get started.


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