We've all been there. Things are running smoothly, then whack, seemingly out of nowhere you get hit over the head. You lose your job, your competition takes away your best business or someone in your personal life drops a bomb on you.
Nonprofits have always had to struggle to meet their client needs, even when economic conditions and social turmoil were much less constraining than today. How can mid-level nonprofits uncover growth opportunities in the present environment?
Several modest contrasts between the two entities reside in the relationship between board and staff. Many nonprofits are small organizations, with the staff being only one or two organizational levels below the board.
There are times when the governing body of any organization may appear to be "broken." The directors, whether for profit or nonprofit, may be polarized -- progress is stunted -- apathy and confusion replace purpose and efficiency.
How to bring about organizational change is one of the chief challenges of my own consulting clients, so I sat down with Jake Jacobs recently to get his take on how to be an effective change agent, and how to facilitate positive organizational change.
Strategy applies equally well to both business and our individual lives. Research indicates that most businesses fail to hit their goals due to poor strategic planning. It is the No. 1 reason for business failure.
There's an ambient contradiction in your desire to make your deliberations candid, open and egalitarian while at the same time insisting on serving as the head 'traffic cop' who just happens to have the biggest title in the room.
How about the times you failed on your way to the top and how those situations taught you to do it better? How about the times you said 'no' when you should have said 'yes' to a business deal or a decision of profit building potential?
Nonprofit organizations are a lot more like businesses than one might think. There really is a bottom line, for example. It is achieving the results the organization is funded for and achieving the financial results that are set by the board annually.
Don't give up because life is different or harder than you expected. Just alter your expectations and plans as needed and expect that to be part of the process. After all, it's not so much about reaching the finish line as it is a matter of developing your skills and abilities and doing your best.
Place one goal in each month to make your plan digestible and realistic. Then identify the exact steps to achieve the goal for the current month: What steps do you need to take each week to ensure you reach your end-month goal?
If you choose to see your venture through its transformation from a growing start-up to a professionally managed firm, prepare yourself for a second, equally important, and potentially more challenging transformation.
The Catholic Church last lasted nearly two millennia, principally by part by eschewing strategic planning. "We have enough dogma already," a Vatican spokesman explained. "We call strategic planning 'Satan's snare.' Anyone caught engaging in it is punished on the breaking wheel."
If there's no substance and fire in your vision for the future, how will you infuse those qualities into the rest of your strategic plan? Here's a no-nonsense summary of the elements that you can use as a guide when you develop your strategic plan.