In the social sector, an organization’s size and budget does not equal true impact. Success is defined by an organizations ability to positively change the lives and circumstances of those they serve. An organization that has an abundant operating budget but fails to produce improved outcomes for their clients is a waste of time, treasure, and talents. Leaders that can accomplish any goal to realize their mission do the following things:
1. Decide: Great social sector leaders made a decision that they will not stand for the status quo and mediocrity. They can see a better future for their organization, community, and possibly the world. They commit to bringing that future to reality. Most people have a vision for what is possible, but the great leaders are those who decide to “go for it”, regardless of the perceived barriers to success.
2. Develop a plan: Great leaders know that “failing to plan is planning to fail”. They ensure success by committing their goals and desired action steps to paper. They schedule activities that need to be done in each quarter, who is responsible for those activities, and the measureable results expected.
3. Deal with resistance: No matter how big or small the vision is and how sound a plan, resistance to change will arise. Resistance can show up in many different forms – staff pushback, turnover, new opportunities that distract efforts towards goals, and other unforeseen negative circumstances. Great leaders anticipate the restraining forces that may keep them from their goals. As part of their planning, they anticipate the challenges and develop strategies to minimize these forces. They also expect that other things may show up to stop them from reaching their goals. When problems arise, they deal with them and keep on going. The key is to never give up. Once a great leader commits to their vision they do not settle until they achieve that vision.
4. Devour data: Success metrics are the successful leaders’ key to staying on course to reach their mission. It is important to have specific measures tied to the ideal outcome and strategies related to the goals. What we focus on grows. Therefore, when leaders see measured progress made towards the ultimate goal, it motivates them to keep going. When the data show that things are not working out as intended, it helps leaders examine what is going wrong and to course correct.
5. Delight in the journey: Thoughts predict behaviors. Positive thoughts and attitudes create positive results when the other four steps are followed. Successful leaders pause to celebrate the small wins that lead toward the ultimate goal. When things get a little rocky (and they will), the successful leaders remain positive and calm in the storms. They have confidence in the process and know with persistence and planning, they can accomplish any goal.
Your big vision is important and will help so many! Our world needs you to decide to achieve this new future. We’d love to help you achieve your big vision. Join the Achieving Excellence Community and receive our free eBook, Ten Tips to Open Doors to More Grants (and Other Funding): Overcoming Common Mistakes of Outcomes Measurement.
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