1825 – Understanding the Operational Culture with Miriam Dicks

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the CEO & Co-founder of 180 Management Group, Miriam Dicks.

Dicks Wide

Non-profits are often driven by a passion for change and a commitment to their cause. However, the zeal to make a difference can be hindered by inadequate structures and systems. This is where Miriam Dick's expertise shines.

Her firm, 180 Management Group, specializes in guiding non-profits through the maze of operations and management consulting. The goal is simple yet profound: to construct robust systems that breathe life into the organization's mission and vision.

One of the most enlightening aspects of our discussion was the emphasis on the operational culture within non-profits. Miriam illuminated the process her company employs, beginning with a thorough assessment of how people collaborate, execute tasks, and align their work with the organization's strategy.

Miriam explored the delicate balance of integrating new technology into an organization. She stressed the importance of making informed decisions, ensuring there is ample support and training for staff, and effectively communicating the benefits of the technology to the entire organization.

However, Miriam also cautioned against the pitfalls of adopting technology without a solid implementation plan. The consequences can range from wasted resources to a workforce that's resistant to change.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Introduction of Miriam Dicks as an operations strategist and CEO of 180 Management Group
  • Challenges faced by non-profit organizations in terms of structure, systems, and support
  • Importance of building efficient systems to implement the mission and vision of non-profit organizations
  • Cultural nuances and efficient business practices in non-profit organizations
  • Assessment of operational culture in non-profit organizations
  • Introducing new technology in non-profit organizations
  • Making informed decisions about technology adoption and providing support and training
  • Challenges and consequences of adopting new technology without proper support and implementation

About Miriam Dicks:

Miriam Dicks stands as the visionary Founder, CEO, and Chief Strategist behind 180 Management Group, showcasing over two decades of expertise in elevating organizations toward peak operational efficiency.

Her career has been marked by numerous roles within operations management and consulting, driven by a deep-seated conviction that excellence in operations is attainable for any entity equipped with the proper catalysts for transformation.

Miriam's academic credentials include a BA in Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MHA from the University of South Carolina, further solidified by her certification as a Change Management Professional (CCMP) and her affiliation with the John C. Maxwell Team. Her work encapsulates a commitment to leveraging strategic change to foster organizational excellence.

About 180 Management Group:

180 Management Group is a pivotal operations consulting firm, dedicated to refining operational strategy and design for non-profit organizations. This firm is deeply committed to bridging the resource gap for Senior Leaders, supplying them with essential tools, resources, and support often lacking within their infrastructures.

With a clear and straightforward mission, 180 Management Group aims to empower non-profits to enhance their operational efficiency. The ultimate goal is to enable these organizations to excel and succeed in their mission and vision, operating at the pinnacle of effectiveness.

This focus on operational excellence is designed to ensure that non-profit leaders can focus on what they do best: making a significant impact in their communities and beyond.

Tweetable Moments:

04:29 – “We have to constantly remind ourselves that even though you're a non-profit, it doesn't mean you don't need to generate revenue and be sustainable.

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out 180 Management Group website at

Check out 180 Management Group on LinkedIn at

Check out 180 Management Group on Facebook at

Check out Miriam Dicks on LinkedIn at

More from UpMyInfluence:

We are actively booking guests for our The Thoughtful Entrepreneur. Schedule HERE.

Are you a 6-figure consultant? I’ve got high-level intros for you. Learn more here.

What is your #1 Lead Generation BLOCKER? Take my free quiz here.

Want to learn more about all the podcasts managed by UpMyInfluence? Opt in here.


Josh (00:00:05) - A thoughtful listener before we get going. Did you know that my company up My has launched more than 200 business podcasts. The host of our shows are amazing leaders and collaborators. Folks I want to connect you with. Maybe you deserve your moment in the spotlight as a guest of one of these amazing shows. Just go to up my, where you can see more than 50 shows that are actively seeking business leader guests like you to celebrate right now in front of their high caliber audiences. Just click on the podcast tab and up my, where you'll see shows like Profit Powerhouse with Glenn Poulos, sales negotiations, and business insights. This isn't just another business podcast, it's a deep dive into the strategies that truly drive success. Hosted by Glenn Poulos, a seasoned sales strategist and business growth expert. Each episode is packed with insights from top executives and business leaders. If you're a high level executive looking to share your expertise and story, we want you on profit powerhouse. Your experiences could be the exact insights Glenn's audience of ambitious business leaders are craving.

Josh (00:01:27) - And for our listeners, if you're ready to elevate your business acumen and learn from the best in the industry, profit Powerhouse with Glenn Poulos is your go to resource. Subscribe now and join a community of professionals who are transforming the business world, ready to be a part of something groundbreaking? Visit up my influence and click on the podcast tab to find profit powerhouse. Whether you're looking to be the next guest or just seeking invaluable business wisdom, this is where your journey begins. Again, just go to up my influence. Com and click on the podcast tab. With us right now it's Miriam Dix. Miriam, you are an operations strategist and you are the founder and CEO of 180 management Group. Your website is 180 management Miriam, thank you so much for joining us.

Miriam (00:02:24) - Hi, Josh. Thank you so much for having me.

Josh (00:02:26) - Well, I'm excited to learn about what you do, who you serve and the kind of the impact you have in the world.

Miriam (00:02:34) - Well ask them. So I am an operations strategist.

Miriam (00:02:36) - As we talked about what we do at 180 management Group is that we provide operations consulting, management consulting, specifically in operations for mainly a lot of non-profit organizations. What we find is that in that particular space, there are many people who are led by their heart and really want to do a great work in the world, but when it comes to the structure and the systems and support that's needed to carry out that work, it's sometimes lacking. So we go in and we help those folks to build the systems that they need so that they can implement their mission and vision according to a strategy for their operations.

Speaker 3 (00:03:11) - Hmhm boy.

Josh (00:03:12) - I've got some introductions for you afterwards. We need to talk to Miriam. Um, tell me maybe some observations of working specifically in the nonprofit world. Do you see anything that maybe might be unique or trends that you'll see kind of more in that nonprofits world that may be a little bit different than the for profit world when it comes to kind of operational success, you know, that sort of thing.

Miriam (00:03:36) - So my background actually is in, uh, the corporate space. Oh, so I worked as a consultant in, in the corporate space for corporate America and the health care industry. And I will say that when I started work with nonprofits, there was sort of this culture shock, if you will, because many times in the nonprofit space, again, we're talking about folks who are leading with their heart. They are trying to fill a void within, you know, society that's not being filled by our government. It's not being filled by the private industry. And so when it comes to the work that's being done is so passionate led that sometimes we're looking at, okay, does this make good business sense? Right. We have a service we want to provide, but does it make good business sense. And then, you know, it really leads to some cultural nuances when it comes to how it is that we relate to one another. Because we don't necessarily see a nonprofit as a business. We see it as a nonprofit organization.

Miriam (00:04:29) - And so we have to constantly say, well, it doesn't mean you don't need to generate revenue and and be sustainable even though you're not filing taxes on the the extra that you have, you're you're reinvesting it into the organization. And so that mindset is often sort of a blinder, if you will, when it comes to how do we have an efficient business practice? Um, not just a great service. And so that's probably the bigger challenge in working with the nonprofit organizations that we work with. However, it's not something that can't be overcome. And let me say this. There's some really, really smart people in the nonprofit sector. I'm not saying that at all. Um, there are some outright geniuses in those organizations. Um, but the culture that exists, our behaviors, our practices, our beliefs. Right. That's what encapsulates our culture within an organization. Those are the things that we we run up against. We want to be a family. We want to make sure everyone's happy. We want to make sure that everyone feels that their voice is heard.

Miriam (00:05:30) - And those kind of cultural nuances, I think, separate that industry out from others.

Josh (00:05:35) - Yeah. Um, so, Miriam, tell me about what your engagement typically looks like. So you're working with a client, kind of where do you start and where do you see yourself going together generally.

Miriam (00:05:46) - So typically we start in engagement with an assessment. Operations doesn't happen in a vacuum. So you could go in and say, oh, I want you to help in this one specific area. But because your operations are sort of wired throughout the organization, it's hard to pinpoint one specific area and say, oh, this is the problem. So what we like to do is do an assessment of the organization. And when we assess the organization, we're assessing something very specific, what we call operational culture. So we're looking at three components. We're looking at how people work together. Right. And that's part of your org chart and your job descriptions and things like that. We're also looking at how work is done. That's process policy procedure.

Miriam (00:06:27) - And then we're also looking at how work informs strategy. So what reports are you able to form or produce that's going to inform your strategy, your strategic plan and how it is that you can better your organization. So we go in and we look for those three components. We do an assessment. And that gives us an idea of where they may be struggling to be efficient. You know, is it that we don't work well together as a team? Is it that we don't really have a process for who's on first? It's almost like a a nonchalant, you know, whatever comes up, someone works on it and it's done. And we don't really have a way of tracking it, or we don't have a way of monitoring whether it got done well. And so the problems can resurface again. So we're looking at all these different cultural nuances that impact operations. And from there we can give a great strategy as to how we can move the organization forward. But without that assessment, we're kind of shooting in a dark.

Miriam (00:07:22) - And what I like to say is you don't want to go to the doctor and they give you medicine without doing an exam. You want the doc at least some vitals, right? Um, you know, check. Let pressure check my temperature, you know, ask me some questions about my call for my seeds or how it was I was feeling last night. Ask me those questions and then give me some solutions. And so as a consultant, you know, in my previous life, I know that many consultants have come in to organizations, provided a great plan in the strategy, and because the culture did not support that strategy, guess what happened to that plan? It was on the shelf. Yep. Never got implemented or or maybe somewhat implemented. And now you've paid for something that still didn't give you what you wanted. So.

Josh (00:08:07) - You know, I'm on your website and I like this question. I'd love to have you kind of comment on some of these symptoms, uh, that, you know, to our friend that's listening, you know, if any of this sounds familiar, maybe they may want to grab a conversation with you really quick.

Josh (00:08:23) - So, you know, again, it's, you know, your organization growth outpacing your operations. So here's some symptoms of like how this might look. Leaders are spending more time managing problems then really doing what they should be doing. You know, again maximizing potential and growing, growing, growing, uh, you know, kind of being on that side of it or, you know, a staff doing work, work, work, work, work. But the gains are just not there. You know, your team's got more projects than processes, or again, you're just limited by your structure. You feel incredibly understaffed that you might feel that way. And it's like there's so many opportunities or things we should be doing, we just can't get to everything. Well, the answer to that, Miriam, is better processes and systems and, you know, just being way more smart and tactical about how we do things.

Miriam (00:09:08) - Yes, exactly. And, you know, even at I will say this, I was having a conversation yesterday with another consultant, and one of the things we talked about, even as consultants, is how is it that, you know, we recognize when we need to have a change in our own processes and systems.

Miriam (00:09:26) - So, for example, she'd hired someone to work on contracts, a contract that services. And that person didn't have the same skill set as she did as a consultant, but great administrator. And so then it becomes, well, is that role too big? If every time that something goes on, you have to go in and supervise, right? Maybe the role needs to be shaped differently so that someone with great administrative skills has an administrative role. And if you need to have that strategy piece within that particular project, that you have someone separate that handle strategy. Sometimes it's about the right sizing of your jobs. Sometimes it's about the actual matching of the work to the strategy. Right? Because those mismatches are what tend to create some of those symptoms that you were mentioning. Like one is turnover. People don't feel as though they can be successful because the job is not right size, right fit. Some of it is the stress that's, you know, associated with not knowing who's on first because everyone is doing their own thing.

Miriam (00:10:32) - The stress of not understanding, finding if you're in compliance, because we don't really we haven't really evaluated our risk and we don't have systems in place for our risk management. So all those things can really all those symptoms can really add up over time and create in a work environment that that may not be really productive.

Josh (00:10:55) - Now, Miriam, you recently wrote an article, by the way, a pretty good LinkedIn follower. I was kind of going through some of the content you're sharing, but, um, you know, this idea and I wonder how often this comes up to about organizations that kind of get just get stuck in the old way of doing things. And so I think right now we're seeing such a boom in new tools and technology, specifically AI. And that can be might be scary to some organizations. And you wrote an article about, you know, three strategies for introducing new technology in your nonprofit, which likely, you know, there may be some opportunities there. Um, if you've been doing things the old way for quite some time and you haven't evaluated, you know, new tools or new technology that's available, and these new tools and technology can completely revolutionize, you know, what you're able to do and the impact you're able to have in the world.

Josh (00:11:47) - Um, but would you talk maybe just about that topic of, you know, because sometimes you're going to encounter some resistance. People don't want to do things differently if they've they're used to doing it the old way. But I'm sure you've seen some scenes and stuff.

Speaker 4 (00:12:01) - You know.

Miriam (00:12:01) - I liken it to if you were to go into a cell phone store, I won't name any. But if you went, you wanted a new cell phone because the one you have is still flip phone. If you're out there and you have that, I'm sorry I'm not picking on you, but just making an example. So you have this flip phone and you want to go and you want to upgrade your flip phone. Well, when you get to the store, typically you're going to have so many different options that you might feel overwhelmed, but you're going to have someone talk you through the options, and then you're going to land on one that that you feel is the best option for you. But this is the kicker.

Miriam (00:12:35) - When you get home, all those things that they said about this phone that you could do, you probably forgot them already. Um, and so now you've bought this nice technology, this new upgraded phone, and it does all these wonderful things. And the best thing you can do with it is make a phone call because it's new and you don't understand it. So when it comes to adopting new technology in an organization, you want to be able to one, uh, make an informed decision about the technology that you're using to make sure that there is some support and training for this technology. And three, make sure that it is communicated throughout the organization. Now, the article you're reading may have that in a different format, because I've written a couple of things. Those are basic pieces of it. If you're going to adopt new technology, make sure you've done your research, make sure you've done your homework. Make sure you understand how your organization typically adopts new technology. If you've had failed initiatives in the past, you want to go back and say, why did it fail? Because just adding another piece of technology on top of failed technology is just more expensive, bad technology.

Miriam (00:13:41) - So. So you want to have those conversations in-house about what it is that we need, do the research, understand what it is. But then the training piece is going to be a really key part of the adoption, because many times we'll go in. I know this is another example. I work for the hospital systems. Back when they were doing EMR electronic medical records implementation. So we went from paper records to electronic medical records, and we also needed to match our electronic medical records to electronic billing practices, because now they're all housed in one system. Well, the organization decided that they were going to get this new shiny billing system, but they didn't get the big package that came with all the training and support. They decided that their staff would be great at training and support. So now you have this this new technology with limited support when it came to the implementation of it. And that put a lot of pressure on the people within the organization to figure it out. Don't skimp on the support.

Speaker 4 (00:14:44) - Yeah.

Miriam (00:14:44) - If you're if you're going to adopt new technology enterprise wide, do not skimp on the support and the implementation of it. Because what can you imagine?

Speaker 5 (00:14:53) - I mean.

Josh (00:14:53) - What a what a nightmare that could be.

Speaker 5 (00:14:56) - Oh my God. Disruptive.

Josh (00:14:57) - That would be operationally if again folks are given tool cool. But nobody knows what they're doing that that could really have consequences.

Speaker 4 (00:15:05) - So and then.

Speaker 5 (00:15:07) - Execution.

Josh (00:15:07) - And rollout is make sure we have a plan for success. So I could get in the weeds on that a little bit. But I want to make sure um, and share your website. It's 180 management Miriam. When somebody goes there what would you recommend they do. Like how do they kind of take the next step after listening to our conversation.

Miriam (00:15:24) - Sure. So there is a little button top right corner I believe it is that says schedule a call if you want to, you know, talk to us about operations consulting. You can do that if you want to talk about us to to us about speaking and training, facilitating, we can do that as well.

Miriam (00:15:39) - If you want to talk to us about leadership, coaching and consulting, we can also do that. But all you have to do is go to our website. You click on schedule a Call and that will take you to a calendly link. You can schedule at your convenience and have an initial consultation free of charge. We just talked to you about what it is you want to learn more about, and figure out what the path forward should be. But yeah, simple. We try to make it as simple as we possibly can to reach out to us.

Josh (00:16:04) - Miriam Dix, again, you're an operations strategist and you're the founder and CEO of 180 management Group. Your website is 180 management Miriam, thank you so much for joining us.

Miriam (00:16:16) - Thank you for having me.

Josh (00:16:22) - Thanks for listening to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence com slash guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free.

Josh (00:16:42) - You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our Listener Facebook group. Just search for the Thoughtful Entrepreneur and Facebook. I'd love even if you just stopped by to say hi, I'd love to meet you. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day. Together, we are empowering one another as thoughtful entrepreneurs. Hit subscribe so that tomorrow morning. That's right, seven days a week you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed. I promise to bring positivity and inspiration to you for around 15 minutes each day. Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur movement.

We're actively booking guests for our DAILY #podcast: The Thoughtful #Entrepreneur. Happy to share your story with our 120K+ audience.Smiling face with halo


Apple iTunes podcast