Updated: Oct 12, 2021
One of my clients presented me with three issues they have been juggling, expressing them with a tone of frustration. He jumped right to the solutions. “Obviously, we need to conduct a board assessment, they aren’t all on the same page.” “It’s clear that it’s been too long without a realistic strategic plan because COVID blew up our old one.” “My MarComms Director needs an executive coach to reinforce the importance of consistent messaging and driving events.”
I could have given him a proposal to conduct a Board Assessment, to facilitate a Strategic Plan, and for executive coaching for one of his key leaders. Instead, I chose not to run down each of those rabbit holes. I asked him to back up a bit and explain what he was ultimately looking for. Where does he want the organization to be that it is not able to get to right now? What are some of the tried-and-true techniques that he feels are holding them back? Have they run their course? Have they outlived their usefulness? If he were to concentrate on the forward-focused outcome versus trying to build on what’s currently there, he may be freed up to think big, think differently, and engage with his team in new ways.
He was excited and intrigued to give that some thought. It evoked a curiosity that I hadn’t seen in his eyes in a while. I knew we were on to something! Not to simplify the process (that is what we do!), but once he expressed his ultimate outcome . . . to get to his dream state, we were off!
In determining a dream state for a nonprofit and its leadership, a continuous line of questioning is critical. Write down your change, your dream state, your ultimate outcome. Then ask yourself “Why do you want this change?” “What does that give you?” “And why do you want that?” “What does that give you?” “And why do you want that?” “What does that give you?” Well, you get the idea.
Yes, he still wanted a board assessment so that he could tap into their ideas and create a collaborative desired goal. Yes, he still wanted the strategic plan so he could map the path to attain the dream state. With the new vision, he invested time with his MarComms Director to explicitly push out the new concept, offering consistent language to bring others along, internally and externally, and prove the interconnectivity between where they are now and how they are heading to their dream state.
Contact us to learn other recommendations on the process of evolving into a more sustainable, productive, and efficient organization. Simplify Nonprofit offers a straightforward method to finish each interaction with a win for everyone!