When Rabbi Steven Burg took over the Aish HaTorah institutions, the organization had accumulated serious debt and was three months behind in payroll. Now, eight years later, Aish has become a massive success story, with new ventures, increasing numbers of students, a bigger budget, and positive cash flow. How did he do it – and what lessons can you learn from his experience in turning Aish and other failing organizations around?
Listen to this episode of Let’s Talk Business as Meny asks Rabbi Burg about his management philosophy, how to hire the right employees, why you need to learn how to delegate, the importance of ignoring the noise, the difference between vision and implementation, how you can revamp your business while simultaneously keeping it open, and more.
Rabbi Steven Burg is the Director General of Aish HaTorah. Before joining this internationally renowned institution, Rabbi Burg held senior leadership roles in other prominent Jewish organizations, with a focus on outreach.
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Turning Failure Into Sustainable Success with Rabbi Steven Burg
[00:00 – 06:54] Opening Segment
• Rabbi Steven held senior leadership roles in prominent Jewish organizations with a focus on outreach
• Why Rabbi Steven believes in structure and scaling up for success
• An international institution that provides intellectual tools to connect people to Judaism and God
• Big organizations are like cruise ships; they take time to turn
[06:55 – 13:12] Transforming a Nonprofit: The Playbook for Turning Around a Sinking Ship
• How Rabbi Steven triaged what were the most critical components to move forward
- Cash flow was the top priority for the first four years
• The organization had hundreds of people, and there was no one taking responsibility
• How self-funded projects were thrown into the budget without a proper reporting structure
[13:13 – 19:40] Using a Business Tool to Make Decisions
• How a nonprofit used an Entrepreneurial Operating System to scale up
• Set a 10-year goal to get 3 million Jews studying Jewish wisdom
- Moving to social media to reach the target market
• When hiring, look for humility and the ability to learn from others
[19:41 – 25:37] Finding Inspiration and Success Through Relentlessness
• Relentless people are successful and can problem solve
• Why delegating is a great skill to have in management
• Leaders need to be consistent and repeat their vision often
• Create language for employees to help them understand the vision
[25:38 – 34:20] Closing Segment
• Ignore the noise and let talented people do what they’re good at
• Rabbi Steven on the rapid four questions
“You can’t stop your business while you’re trying to fix your business.” – Rabbi Steven Burg
“Vision without implementation is a delusion.” – Rabbi Steven Burg
About Rabbi Steven Burg
Rabbi Steven Burg is the Director General of Aish HaTorah. Before joining this internationally renowned institution, Rabbi Burg has held senior leadership roles in prominent Jewish organizations, with a focus on outreach. Under his direction, as the youngest International Director of the Orthodox Union’s youth movement, NCSY grew to serve tens of thousands of Jewish teens around the world. He later served as the Managing Director of the OU and the eastern Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
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