Pillar 2: Taking Flight – How to Institute Disciplined, People-Focused Management

This is webinar #2 in a series of 7.

In the past few years, WINGS for kids has demonstrated the power of its programs: Children had a 40% higher graduation rate in its first social and emotional skills-focused after-school cohort than a comparison group. Inspired by this success, a board member donated $1 million, the department of Education funded an independent evaluation, and the program has expanded to four regions. And what better evidence of confidence in an organization’s capabilities than funding from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, which provides multi-year capacity building to allow high-performance non-profits to expand effective services to even more youths?

WINGS for kids started out small, like most non-profits, but began to manage performance and grew big, unlike most. CEO Bridget Laird credits disciplined, people-focused management, along with six other pillars of high-performance organizations. In this webinar, you will learn what “disciplined, people-focused management” looks like in practice, including examples of how WINGS managers “walk the walk” every day by:

  • Translating leaders’ drive for excellence into clear work plans and incentives to carry out the work effectively and efficiently.
  • Making data-informed decisions in day-to-day work, and providing opportunities for staff to see how they contribute to the larger mission
  • Ensuring accountability systems provide clear standards for success, without sacrificing room for creativity
  • Providing continuous feedback, acknowledging when work isn’t done well, providing training and coaching, and making tough personnel decisions when necessary

Be inspired by hearing how the CEO, program managers, and WINGS Leaders (after school teachers) engage in – and experience – “disciplined, people-focused management”. Together, they make sure that every child receives the WINGS experience – exactly as it was designed – every day. Join us to learn how you can apply pillar #2 of the Performance Imperative in your organization.

The webinars in this series can be watched sequentially or independently. Each will be recorded, and the entire series will be available on Social Solutions’ website.

About this Webinar Series

The most successful organizations – those that produce positive client outcomes with consistency – cultivate seven core disciplines. This webinar is the second in a series dedicated to exploring what each of the seven pillars of the Performance Imperative look like in practice.

The Performance Imperative was created by the Leap Ambassadors’ Community, a group of social sector leaders who have joined forces to inspire great organizations for greater societal impact. At Social Solutions, we are proud to provide software which supports high performance and to be part of the movement along with so many of our customers.



Bridget Laird has been with WINGS since 1998. Through the years, Bridget has helped to develop all aspects of the organization, from program/curriculum development to spearheading grant and research applications to growth strategies, replication, and scaling. Since Bridget took over as CEO in 2011, WINGS has expanded to Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC – increasing the number of kids served by 300%. Her oversight ensures fiscal responsibility of a multi-million dollar budget.


Cheryl Hollis joined the WINGS staff in 2003 as a WINGSLeader at Memminger School of Global Studies. In 2010 she returned to her WINGS roots and took on the role of Program Director at James Simons Elementary, a new program for WINGS. In 2012 Cheryl became Senior Program Director of Charleston, and she is now Regional Operations Director for South Carolina.



Ingvild Bjornvold is Director of Strategic Initiatives at Social Solutions. She leads a team which develops pre-configured versions of ETO software and Apricot, designed to support a diverse range of programs in their efforts to manage to outcomes. She has played a leadership role in PerformWell (a partnership with the Urban Institute and Child Trends to provide quality and outcomes measurement tools to nonprofits), and organizes the popular webinars on performance management topics. Prior to joining Social Solutions, Ingvild worked for various nonprofit organizations, including Amnesty International and Asian American LEAD. Ingvild is a member of the Leap Ambassadors’ Community.


In high-performance organizations:

  • Managers translate leaders’ drive for excellence into clear workplans and incentives to carry out the work effectively and efficiently.
  • Managers’ decisions are data informed whenever possible.
  • Managers, like executives and boards, have the ability to recruit, develop, engage, and retain the talent necessary to deliver on the mission. They help staff get the tools and training they need in order to deliver the desired results.
  • Managers provide opportunities for staff to see themselves in the work— that is, to see how each person’s work contributes to the desired results.
  • Managers establish accountability systems that provide clarity at each level of the organization about the standards for success and yet provide room for staff to be creative about how they achieve these standards.

  • Managers provide continuous feedback to team members and augment that ongoing feedback with periodic performance reviews. They view performance reviews as an opportunity for staff development and coaching.
  • Managers acknowledge when staff members are not doing their work well. They give these staffers help to improve or move them to more suitable roles. If it becomes clear that staff members are unable or unwilling to meet expectations, managers are not afraid to make tough personnel decisions so that the organization can live up to the promises it makes to beneficiaries, donors, and other key stakeholders.

Download Performance Imperative PDF Visit Website
Excerpt from page 8 of the Performance Imperative PDF.

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