In Stephen Covey’s book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey suggests that the second most significant habit to develop is “Begin With the End in Mind”. In creating highly effective nonprofits, knowing the end game is a key component to success.
Sound leadership requires a well-defined acceptance of where an organization is but equally important, clarity about the future. Waiting for the future to unfold will lead you down a path but it is far better to move confidently with clear direction by controlling outcomes guided by planning and strategy.
Your mission defines who you are, what you do and who you serve. Crafting a vision with the “end in mind” requires imagination, creativity and inspiration. It is this vision that defines your growth, development, and programs.
This visualization might include a new building, stellar board leadership, becoming the “go to” organization in the field, financial abundance and prosperity, heightened visibility or expanded services. When the organization embraces the vision and sharpens the focus on specific goals and strategies for the journey, an intentional blueprint can be designed to achieve those dreams.
The crystal ball begins to come into focus.
To reach the destination an examination of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and barriers, improves the path to success. Accomplishing goals requires overcoming the obstacles and developing tactics that allow the vision to become a reality.
Your vision should include program outcomes for the staff and board leadership for the next three years. That may mean your board adding more corporate executives, individuals with access to wealth, an attorney or a researcher. Clearly define and identify the skills needed to build leadership and then recruit those individuals. The same is true of financial security. Once the vision is articulated, ask what fundraising goals are required to secure the goals? Examine the viability of increasing individual giving, earned income, or foundation and corporate giving, that are necessary to be successful.
If your service has outgrown the current facility, is it best to rent a larger facility or does the organization have the capacity to purchase a new facility? The board and executive staff must look at realistic opportunities and hurdles to meet these goals. Focus your energy on what you can realistically accomplish.
Know where you want to go and craft your strategy to get there. Put the “who” to the “do” so someone assumes responsibility along with timelines.
When you “Begin with the end in mind”, you begin to create the reality of what you will become.