Friday, June 26, 2009

Engage People for Sustainable Progress

Nonprofit organizations live and die by their stakeholders -- by the people who give their time, talent and treasure to advance the mission. The people who are around for the long-haul and in the tough times. Engage them. Don't rely on a one-shot report or consultant solution, both of which become too easy for people to disregard in challenging times. Use a process that engages your stakeholders. When they invest some of themselves in the process, in the ideas and in the solution, they feel greater responsibility and ownership. When the challenge has become clear,  they've offered ideas about how it might be overcome and then realized the need for a commitment to action, that’s gold. That's a model for sustainable progress.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Communication Count-Down

When looking to convey your intentions, think about your actions. Before you start talking about something, consider whether you are clear on why you’re talking and what you’re saying. Take a moment and gauge your confidence in having explored different avenues and engaged creative thinking about new ways or alternate approaches. Reflect on how you have engaged people and how committed they are to whatever it is that’s about to be said. Look at your language and dissect your delivery to make sure it will connect and convey as intended. That's it! Four, three, two, one ...
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Focus on Mission

Challenging times bring significant opportunities for organizations that are focused and ready to adapt. Organizations that focus on their core purpose, explore beyond business as usual and find ways to engage their stakeholders will be better positioned to survive and thrive. It’s a 360-degree responsibility for all those connected to a mission-driven organization.
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Friday, June 12, 2009

Engage People to Seize Opportunity

Finding a way beyond business is usual is possible. Seizing opportunities is something you can do. Because it doesn’t have to be complicated or resource-intensive. It simply has to be clear and it has to be an understood need. Making it happen becomes even more likely when you reach out and engage other people involved with or affected by the matter at hand.

When you involve people in a process and engage them with the questioning, they become more involved. Their involvement leads to understanding. That understanding leads to commitment. And, when that commitment is garnered swiftly, then the communication, the actions required thereafter – they can become the focus.

Give it a try. Think about something that will move your organization forward. Identify some key players who would be involved with making it happen. Discern some of the questions that need to be answered or concepts that need to be explored in order to move from idea to action. Find a way to bring their minds together (call a meeting, send an e-mail, use a survey, pick up the phone, whatever works for your timeline and within your resources). Engage them. Excite them. Push them. Pull out the insights.

Then, convert it into some actionable solutions on which the key players might focus for a few weeks. Report progress and discover ways to build on that momentum while adapting to changing circumstances. Don't be overwhelmed by the possibilities, be focused on an opportunity!
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Monday, June 08, 2009

Seize the Day!

Make an opportunity today to re-focus and re-charge. Find one way in which you can change your energy to be about progress and sustainability. If you find yourself thinking about the obstacles in your way, stand up and stretch your body in order to stretch your mind so that you can brainstorm some ideas about how to see it differently. Drill down for a moment or two to find something within your sphere of influence or control on which you can take action. Don't over-think. Just re-think beyond business as usual.
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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Re-Consider Your Mission

At the core of an effective organization is a clear mission statement. An understood collection of words that drives the organization's intentions, actions and impressions. A shared intention that informs decision-making processes, which can yield greater acceptance even without full agreement.
Yet, the mission doesn't come alive until it is embodied by the people who commit themselves to moving it forward. Achieving that commitment becomes easier when the mission statement uses current language and reflects contemporary circumstances, all while being true to the heritage and traditions from which it sprung.

So, if you haven’t examined your mission statement in the last three years, or since you’ve engaged that new slate of Board members or staff members, make some time in the next 21 days. Approach it with an open mind and the understanding that some words or phrases just may need to change in order to make it more meaningful for those committed to moving it forward.
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