The following letter of reference was unsolicited:

December 6, 2010

To Whom It May Concern:

I would like to provide a recommendation of the services of Dr. Sid Webb, Colorado Springs, CO.

We first met Dr. Webb when he made a presentation to a conference about non-profit governance. It was obvious from this presentation that Sid was a true expert, not some run of the mill person with ambition to be a presenter that had gotten themselves on the agenda.

We met with Sid for an initial consultation to tell him about our organization and see what he could offer to do to help us. We are a small research organization that was built into a nationally reputed provider of evaluation services to a narrow field of social program providers by a dynamic and brilliant founder. As the founder was moving towards retirement, he brought in a leadership team to make an organizational transition. As is typical of such situations, there were huge issues to be worked through; financial, legal, contractual, conceptual, organizational, personnel, assets, contracts, etc. And as is also typical of organizations moving beyond the founder phase, there were significant political issues to iron out in terms of how control and authority would be transferred, when, and to whom.

We hired Sid to provide ongoing organizational coaching to us during this transition. We had monthly coaching calls and calls as needed prior to and following large milestone meetings we were holding in which huge, far-reaching decisions were being made. Many of these meetings involved broaching sensitive issues about which there was no consensus and which could have resulted in disastrous consequences if not done appropriately. You will not be surprised to hear that I felt significant pressure during this period of time and very much needed assistance. Sid provided exactly what I needed to make this work successful.

First, Sid always made it clear that his number one priority was me as a person and our organization. For example, he provided the initial consultation, followed up with an in-person day long assessment, and several phone calls. We knew the ballpark for how much this was going to cost, but he repeatedly refused payment for these initial groundwork laying experiences. He prayed for us in our meetings and let us know that he cared about us and our success. He was available to us and always seemed to have an open door.

Second, Sid is a bonafide expert in the field of non-profit governance and effectiveness. If CNN had a “non-profit” correspondent, Sid could do the job. He always has compelling answers to every question I ask. Not only does he have answers, it is clear to me that he has a model he is working from. That model is a set of principles and priorities that he can tie every answer back to. For example, one of his core principles seems to be “mutual honor.” Whenever we discussed a decision, we tended to see it as “the founder wants this, but we think it should be this.” Sid never took sides, and would reframe it as, “So I hear you saying that the founder feels this and you feel that. It isn’t a question of whose perspective will win out, but how can we find a way to honor his part while honoring yours as well.”

Sid’s assistance has been invaluable to me. I do not know how I could possibly have come through this transition period without his help. He gave me the exact things I needed to know, when I needed them.

To illustrate the impact Sid has had on me, I provide several statements I made to him, verbatim from the emails I sent to him over the past several months:

  • "Thanks Sid. You really have kept me from going under. Honestly, if it weren't for your character-based and Godly counsel about running an organization, I would be literally insane by now."

  • "I have thought of you many times...." (Sid’s counsel always sticks in your mind) "I love it when you ask me radical questions…. I'd really like to do a case study on our situation; it was truly fascinating, inspiring, crazy, and at times, maddening process that I bet a lot of people could learn from! And especially to see how you helped us navigate the whole mess!"

  • "And I hope you know how very much your assistance has meant to me, personally and professionally. Our last call really moved me past some barriers. Thanks so much for that. I feel much better equipped due to the language and framework that your meeting provided and inspired. I think I am coached sufficiently to enter that milieu."

In summary, anyone who is interested in arriving at a truly effective organization with a legally and fiscally sound plan should call Sid. It isn’t necessarily cheap to do so, though he is very reasonably priced. But just like an expert accountant, a strong payroll system, or a good computer is indispensible, you simply cannot afford to create and run an organization without having Sid on your team. He will much more than make up the cost in greater effectiveness, peace of mind, and targeted mission-building.

A Raving Fan, Paul Birch
Former Executive Director, Institute for Research and Evaluation, Salt Lake City, UT.