Managing Professionals in Not-For-Profits
post # 464 — November 12, 2007 — a Managing post
A friend called recently and asked whether I thought the principles of managing professional service organizations applied in the not-for-profit sector.
Itâ€™s a complex question. Letâ€™s start below the level of the organization and ask whether the principles of managing professionals (not the organization, but the people) differs between for-profit and not for profit.
I suspect that while the principles are the same (manage people through the opportunity for meaningful, challenging work) the actual practices are very different. The monetary dimension in the for-profit sector is both a blessing and a curse.
The blessing is that the availability of money allows generous rewards to be used to attract, motivate and retain talent. The curse is that financial rewards come to be used exclusively as the means to attract, motivate and retain talent.
In the for-profit sector, managers can â€œget awayâ€ with being poor managers, using money to cover up the absence of hands-on managerial skill. In the not-for-profit sector, the need for people management skills is unavoidable.
Thatâ€™s only one dimension of the not-for-profit difference, but before carrying on with my analysis, let me get yours.
What do the rest of you think? What has your experience been?