Posts Tagged ‘nonprofit organizations’

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?

Like This!


Every morning I receive an e-mail from my personal soothsayer.  Actually, I simply subscribe to Seth Godin’s blog.  In 1999 he wrote a book that altered my mindset and has proven to be a profoundly prescient tome in this age of social media.  It’s called Permission Marketing (link to Amazon).

Remember the kid that always held up the school field trip because he lost his signed permission slip?  Sorry, it was me — lost at the bus stop, on the bus, on the playground, etc.  Long before the age of cell phones it took a while to get one of my parents on the phone for the verbal OK to go see dinosaurs.  I always had permission, just rarely held on to it.

Non-Profit organizations have many friends: donors, members, partners, fellow NPOs, vendors, and other ancillary stakeholders.  All of whom have some relationship to the organization and its work.  All of whom (unless it’s an odd relationship) have granted permission to grow and nurture the relationship.

What are you doing with your permission?  Permission is a gift, before using energy and resources to pursue new “permissions”, determine if you are best using the permission you currently are blessed to hold.

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Swim with sharks

Duplicate Survival?  No Thank You.
This economy sucks.  Really sucks.  Attend any meeting, conference, or networking event and it’s like the scene from Jaws — everyone’s showing their scars — the largest is the winner.  Interestingly, survival is being celebrated more than success.  No offense, but I’d much rather duplicate success strategies right now than survival tactics.

Back to my Jaws analogy — the successful people in rooms are occasionally being thrown into the ocean like chum (bait or luring substance for sharks) and you hear comments like:

  • She got lucky
  • Well look at their market, they throw money at them
  • He was just in the right place at the right time
  • They broke the rules to do that
  • Anyone in that position could have had success there
  • She won’t be able to sustain that, it will crash
  • He’d be nowhere without his support network
  • Her staff does all the work

Little mention of the risk taking, pioneering, leadership, innovation, passion, drive, motivation, recruiting, intelligence, etc.  The qualities and activities that bring the really cool scars — because pursuing success can also bring failure.  Struggle to succeed, not survive — it’s a lot more fun and rewarding despite the risks and naysayers.  It’s time to acknowledge and commend the successful, they are the ones we should learn from and emulate.  Aren’t you curious at why they’re thriving?  I sure am.

Non-Profit Does Not Mean Non-Success
Because we are serving our communities through non-profit organizations does not mean we are non-success organizations.  We need to know what is working (in any industry), where innovative opportunities are waiting, we need to respect those individuals and organizations that are taking risks and applaud their successes.

There are some great stories and great things happening — great success.  I regularly troll (not sure what’s with all the fishing analogies today) the following sites to find superstars and learn:

Good a collaborative site “pushing the world forward”

Cool People Care “to save the world”, can’t beat that mission a list of some really great orgs and their sites (more of a design thing)

Organizations cannot grow through cost cuts after cost cuts and re-engineering and not every success has to be of epic proportions — the small wins count too.  Find those doing great, survival is for the mediocre.

Choose your platform: survival or success.

Doggy paddling with the sharks,