Why Your Nonprofit May Be Operating Below Operational Competence Levels (Part 2)

The Importance of Leadership

The best nonprofit leaders understand that a good strategy and a healthy culture ultimately control the level of operational competence your organization will achieve.

Strategy decides your flight plan for organizational effectiveness, impact, and sustainability by intentionally mobilizing people, allocating resources, and implementing systems to arrive at a predetermined destination.

Culture then walks out the shared values, accepted standards, and common beliefs of the organization in your policies, procedures, and worldview to get you there.

Strategy and culture may begin at the top but ultimately drive your organization’s operating system, thereby determining its level of operational competence.

The leader is the linchpin. A leader determines the success of an organization or its shortcomings. A good leader will assure that your organization is managing above operational competence levels.

Sounds like a tall order… or, does it?

Introducing Best Practice Leadership

Our world has gotten very complicated. As good as some leaders are, no one leader has all of the answers anymore. Truly, it takes a multitude of counselors.

That said, leaders who work smarter and leverage what has already been proven effective can consistently and predictably accomplish higher levels of operational competence for the organization.

Enter Best Practice Leadership.

The Center defines Best Practice Leadership as leading by best practices. In other words, raising the BPQ levels through the intentional application of strategic best practices throughout the organization.

As you may recall, BPQ is short for Best Practices Quotient and represents the organization’s demonstrable level of operational competence. The higher the BPQ, the higher the level of operational competence.

In this way, a good leader from any of the six best practice areas can become the lever to achieving operational competence in all areas.

Not All Best Practices Are Created Equal

With hundreds of best practices to choose from, it is incumbent on the leader to carefully consider which best practices to prioritize for their organization, as some are more important than others. In other words, depending on the situation, some best practices should be weighted higher in order of importance.

In reality, when you select the “right” best practices to concentrate on, many of the others will take care of themselves. That is because some best practices provide a remedy to a symptom without solving the underlying problem. By addressing the core problems, the symptoms are also retired.

How will your leaders choose which best Practices to focus on?


Marc is Co-Founder and Principal Advisor of The Center. For the previous 12 years, Marc served full-time as executive and practitioner in three significant yet very different nonprofits, overseeing extensive domestic and international operations.