On Monday night I had requests to be three places, all at once. It’s happened to us all, especially in this Fall season when we are gearing up for many great things. I agonized over one of the requests. It was to fill in for another leader who was out to town and help kick off the giving campaign. And It was for a group I am passionate about, and I love to help. But in the end, I said “no, I am so sorry I can’t be there.”
For anyone who knows me, you will recognize this situation as a personal growth opportunity. As I debated options in my head, I was reminded of my current priorities, what I was trying to achieve, and my values. The decision was then simple, I needed to say no. About two years ago, after a hard season of taking on too much and trying to make everyone happy, I started to craft my own personal plan based on where I felt called, what I valued most, and my most critical priorities. Simply put, it was my own strategic plan. At first, it was hard to narrow the scope of life, but the most freeing part was realizing that at times I could say no. The result was more time for what mattered most.
Currently Armstrong McGuire is working with five nonprofits, all at different stages of growth, asking the question of their board, staff, and stakeholders, where will we be in three to five years. Our discussions begin with mission, vision, and values. Do we have them? Are they still relevant? Do they represent us now? Only when we come to a consensus, we can really have a debate about the future. The combination of these elements serve as a lens to view an opportunity or decision. If the opportunity does not align, then the answer is no. Once mission, vision, and values are combined with the strategic plan, you have tools to guide your path and make decisions. The best part is that the tools are not just used by one person, but all key stakeholders, allowing for shared responsibility.
There is always too much to do and new opportunities to explore. It can be overwhelming. But with a clear strategic plan and guideposts like your mission, vision, and values, you have the power to say no. When you say no, you create the time and energy to say yes to opportunities that will help achieve your mission!
PS – Strategic plans have evolved to be more effective and entrepreneurial. They are more compact and drive impact. Click here for several strategic planning resources, or give us a call if we can help!