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Entries in mission (6)


The Power of Perspective

Let's take a look at a sample mission statement:

To share the love of God in word, action and attitude while building community in the neighborhoods where we live and work.

If I were to analyze this statement from the perspective of one who teaches others how to write impactful mission statements, I might ask - Is it concise? Does it tell what the organization does and who they serve?

If I had to analyze it from the perspective of a donor, I might make the initial determination of whether or not it fits the types of organizations I like to give to.

Fortunately, I can look at it from a deeper perspective. Two weeks ago while on an assignment with Faith and Philanthropy Institute for the Justice Revival, I had the pleasure and honor of meeting the President and CEO of Central Dallas Ministries, Larry James. This organization is definitely accomplishing the mission stated above. Larry shared the metamorphosis of this incredible nonprofit.  I learned first hand that the heart of the organization mirrors the heart of its leader.  I left the meeting inspired and challenged to examine my own heart.

Today, I want to dig a little deeper and climb a litter higher. I still want to help you write clear, impactful mission statements, but before we get into the mechanics, tell me your story. Come on, challenge my old mindsets and encourage me to enlarge my thinking through the power of perspective.


I Rediscovered the Benefits of Business Planning

I love business planning not only because of the result (the plan), but also because of what you learn in the process. Recently, as I began to re-work my own business plan through collaborative planning with my cohorts at the Faith and Philanthropy Institute, I realized that I had abandoned the vision of Business Write Now. Not only do I help organizations find their "voice" and write their roadmap to missional success, but the vision is to go a step further and help mission-driven organizations fill the gap between serving and funding with earned income strategies.   As I have personally discovered, here are six benefits of business planning.

  1. Business Planning enables you to re-focus on the big picture. You can identify where you are going and the necessary steps to get you there.
  2. Business planning helps you become proactive rather than reactive. You no longer have to be torn between finances and philanthropy.
  3. Business planning can help you discover other earned income strategies, hence decreasing your reliance on outside donors.
  4. Business planning can identify costs that need to be cut or redirected so you can have greater social impact.
  5. Business planning can help you determine if you have the right people in the right positions for optimal execution.
  6. Business planning produces the Business Roadmap which is a viable, executable plan to missional and financial success.

It sure is nice to get back on track.



Why Employees Disengage

"They didn't come here that way. When people come to 'XYZ' company, they are eager to contribute. We make them this way." This was in response to a question that I asked one of the executive team members at a company I once worked. It took me about four months to realize something was out of kilter. On the surface, employees appeared to be contributing, but really they were just collecting a paycheck and doing just enough to get by.

Before long, I was struggling to stay engaged. One of the principles I live by is to find purpose and meaning in my life's work. I want all of me to show up on an assignment - body, soul, and spirit. I am not interested in merely doing tasks with my heart not really into it. Yet so many workers are doing exactly that. In the book Ten Thousand Horses by John Stahl-Wert and Ken Jennings, the authors cite research by the Gallup Organization that only 29 per cent of workers are engaged.The rest "essentially sleepwalk through the day, meeting only your baseline expectations, or in worst cases they're actively working to undermine your company's performance" (p.xii).

I am not sure if any nonprofit organizations were included in the research, but the results would eventually be the same. It may take a little longer for employees of nonprofits and ministries to disengage, because many times the very reason that they want to work for nonprofits and ministries is motivated by the desire to help others.

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Measuring Organizational Success

A couple of posts back, I reviewed the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell which focuses on the components of individual success. I even came up with a formula based on my understanding of what I had just read:

Individual Success = Passion + Talent + Hardwork (10,000 hours) + Opportunity (includes when, where, and to whom you were born)

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The Greater the Mission, The Greater the Resolve

Alignment of vision, mission, and objectives is an integral part of plan execution.  But we can learn from Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, that alignment of your will to the mission is critical. Jesus knew that He was born to die for the sins of all mankind, but it was difficult for His own disciples to comprehend.

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Can We Change Your Agency's Mind? By Audrey Wyatt

I come from the for profit world, and was recently reminded by someone in the nonprofit arena that, in general, nonprofit agencies do not consider themselves businesses. It is not our intention to change nonprofits into for profit businesses.  I believe there is much to be learned by incorporating the best of both sectors into one hybrid model. 

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