September 9, 2020  /  Caleb E. White, Principal, and Megan Helzner, Manager

True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes.” Daniel Kahneman


The 360-degree feedback process has recently been reported to be used by more than 85% of Fortune 500 firms as a part of their performance management systems[1]. The “360-degree” moniker comes from how the process solicits feedback for participating leaders in a full circle: from those working above (supervisors or in the case of the CEO, the Board), below (direct reports), and alongside (peers of) the individual being assessed. 360s invite and require some vulnerability in that, if done as intended, thoughtfully receiving and then using feedback is a de... read more »

August 5, 2020  /  Todd Smith

Todd SmithBalancing the respective needs and inputs of your company Board, your shareholder group, and your independent directors always requires a measured approach that values feedback and places a premium on the values embedded in the company by its founders. A Family Council is an ideal forum through which to give family members a “voice” in the company, but it also adds a new dimension to this balancing act. 

Clients often come to us with questions on how to effectively link their Family Council to an existing operating company Board in a healthy and productive way. This can be a particular challenge not only when d... read more »
July 14, 2020  /  Jennifer Tomasik

Engagement is the art and science of including people in the shaping and implementation of strategy and change. In our experience, intentionally planning what we call the engagement architecture of a project or initiative that you want to advance is absolutely essential for creating strategy and change that stick. We advise building inclusive processes through which to surface a diversity of voices and opinions, using a variety of methods for tapping into the guidance, expertise, and passion of your people—including leadership, staff, board, family members, and others whose outside perspective can be helpful. 

When consideri... read more »
July 13, 2020
These are times like no other. Organizations of all types have been up-ended by the events of 2020, leaving leaders grappling with a range of questions about the short- and long-term impact on their business and people. 
How have these strange times affected culture and performance? What will be the impact on talent and morale, and how do we plan for it? Have we moved backwards on important goals that were so clearly in our sight just months ago? What have we gained, unexpectedly, in these unusual times and how can we hold onto it? Do we h... read more »
July 8, 2020  /  Nancy Drozdow, Founder and Principal

Nancy DrozdownLately, even before the pandemic, people inside organizations have been more “heads down,” get it done, don’t distract me. With the pandemic adding one more level of stress to organizational life—where people work from a distance, virtually, still intent to make plan, serve customers, develop talent—a new or renewed view of organizational life is emerging, where invention and adaptation of the formerly tried and true can either be encouraged or discouraged by an organization’s culture. What anchors a resilient organization in a good way,  offering purpose, connection, and readiness for change?

 ... read more »

July 1, 2020  /  Debbie Bing

Debbie BingOrganizations can get in the way of their own success. The reasons are plentiful—ineffective design, challenged teams, unclear roles or structures, cumbersome or insufficient processes, challenging authority dynamics, to name just a few. Every leader has faced that moment. When they simply know that there is something about how the organization is working that is getting in the way of achieving the full potential of its goals. And yet harnessing the collective power of an organization—with multiple talents, ideas, and a more powerful overall impact than any one individual can have—is somehow still around the corner, just out of reach.... read more »

June 29, 2020

Chris McEnteeWe are thrilled to welcome Chris McEntee to CFAR as a Senior Advisor for our work with healthcare and research organizations and professional associations and societies. In her most recent role as CEO of the American Geophysical Union (AGU)—a global professional scientific society serving 130,000 scientists—Chris positioned AGU as a leading industry voice and drove key initiatives that increased the relevance and value of science in our society.


With over 25 years of professional experience, Chris has focused on growing large organizations through reimagining their governance, membership, programs, public policy, sci... read more »

June 24, 2020  /  Barry Dornfeld

Culture has played an increasingly critical role in organizations across all domains, and we know that people across organizational levels have become more aware of how vital its role is in shaping strategy, impacting organizational success, and deepening employee engagement. At the same time, the pandemic, and the necessary responses to it, have tested organizational culture in ways that we are just taking stock of and that may have long-lasting impact.


We know that organizations with purposeful, collaborative, inclusive, and psychologically safe cultures have more engaged and effective leaders, staff, and teams, and deliver better outcome... read more »

June 16, 2020  /  Richard Levin

In this radio interview, initially broadcast on WBOQ-FM in Gloucester, MA, I talk about ways we can acclimate to the turbulence brought about by the combined impact of COVID-19, racial injustice, unemployment, and steep financial losses. Not knowing which way to turn for help has the capacity to crowd out our best thinking, and to force us into making impulsive decisions.


The best way for leaders to be strategic rather than impulsive is to develop new skills that help their organizations deal with collective trauma. I address trauma in the radio interview... read more »

June 10, 2020  /  Todd Smith
Todd Smith, Senior Consultant2020 has been tumultuous, unlike anything many of us have ever experienced. As we shift to living and working in a new reality, organizations have been left upended. Leaders face abundant, urgent questions about how to care for their organization and their people, and how to plan for an uncertain future.
At CFAR, we have been grappling with the same challenges—both within our organization and through our work with clients. As we listened to leaders voice their concerns and watched numerous organizations focus on the notion of resiliency, we quickly came to realize that resiliency, while a critical s... read more »
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