Posts Tagged ‘non-profit’

Imagine trying to lead your organization while adopting the ideas of the latest best selling business book (each month).  One can imagine that it could get a little crazy.  I’m all for reading, I have stacks of books everywhere (I know — Kindle or iPad, it’s on my list of things to do this year) and consider lifelong learning a personal mission.  What I don’t do is sit in each team meeting with entire new vision, direction, priorities, core values, strategies, or key metrics each week/month/year.


OK team, trying to be Great is so last month, now we’re going to focus on Switch as we’re Built to Sell while Delivering Happiness, Find Our Strengths, identify The Outliers and try to make sure we all have a 4-Hour Workweek.

Strategy nomads bounce from one strategy or opportunity to the next.  It can lead to noise, confusion and the delivery of…well, nothing or very little.  Interestingly, strategy nomads also find it far easier to create new measures than to eliminate old (think obsolete) measures.

Maybe it’s not the volume of business tomes hitting the shelves, it could very well be the need to explore, evaluate and embrace the organization’s purpose.  We must be careful and ensure that our strategies do not overwhelm our mission and goals.

Anecdotal leadership will only provide anecdotal results.

Maybe the one book that truly matters is the one that could be written about your organization’s impact.

What’s your most recent favorite book?  Why?

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“…to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

One would be hard-pressed to find a more dramatic phrase from a mission/vision statement.  Can non-profit enterprises boldly go where no organization has gone before?  I’d argue yes, with the right crew.

Captain Kirk: inspirational leader, heart and emotion, gets in the ring, lives for the mission
Spock: grounded in science and logic
Uhura: ability to translate and communicate on many platforms
Bones: brings emotionally charged debate to the table
Scotty: can creatively fix anything — makes the vision/direction happen at all costs
Red shirts: still go on the mission even though their life expectancy is the lowest

A regular practice of leaders should be to take an introspective look at their teams.  Is the team poised for action or reaction?  Culture of complacency or one of progress and adventure?  Is there diversity of ideas?  Are meetings a useless exercise or are they filled with lively discussion, debate, decisions and action?

Who is at the table has a direct correlation to what gets done.

I’m considering adding “Vulcan” as a check-box on our employment application — those that check it will be real interesting people.

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On my desk is a copy of Tony Hsieh’s new book Delivering Happiness (Amazon Link), the story of Tony’s journey in building (link) into a customer service phenom.  In the future, I’ll try to craft some semblance of a review of the book, ironically Tony grew up in Marin County where I was blessed to live and work for a number of years.

My ownership of the book is not surprising — I have desks, coffee tables, nightstand, and car seats littered with books.  What is awe inspiring is that I received this book through Twitter and all it cost me was some time.

I am a fan (not the stalker kind despite what he says) of Jay Baer (Jay on Twitter) and his blog/company Convince & Convert (link to Jay’s blog).  Thank you Jay, you’ve literally delivered happiness.  Jay’s got GIVE.

Quite often organizations pursue social media strategies in an attempt to attract new members/donors/customers.  One of Jay’s principles is to use social media to engage our existing members, deepening the relationship — he speaks my language (or I at least understand his words).

Non-profit organizations are typically stuck in the “asking” gear and in this challenging economy few of us can find the clutch.  I refer to it as the non-profit duck-duck-goose game.  Many fundraising consultants recommend “7 touches and then ask again” — touch, touch, touch, touch, touch, touch, touch, ASK!.  Imagine if we led with GIVE.

What has Jay gained by his GIVE?  A committed reader of his blog, an evangelist in my humble network circle, future potential client(s), future potential speaking gig(s), a buyer of his upcoming book, a constant referral, and a tequila should he find himself in Cave Creek.

Imagine if we led with a GIVE.  We have key shareholders that have passions — some related to our work and some outside.  After my experience I am sending out 4 books this week from fly fishing to NASCAR.

The timeless adage is true, giving is more powerful than receiving.  Got GIVE?