What to do when things are going well
Maybe just carry on. Or maybe not.
I started my last article in this series by saying, “Let’s say things are going reasonably well in your organization.” Now let’s ramp that up, beyond “reasonably well.” Let’s say things are going great. What you’re achieving in your mission is not merely good, but outstanding. Your financial situation is not just OK, but wonderful. You feel great about your team and the skills and talents they bring to the mission. Your board, your staff, and the people you serve are excited and enthused about your organization and what it’s doing. Sure you have problems – who doesn’t? – but they are small, and solutions are in view.
So, what to do in that situation? You have a choice.
1. You could carry on and keep doing exactly what you’re doing, in exactly the way you’re doing it.
2. You could do good annual strategic planning year by year, and year by year find ways to improve or expand, incrementally.
3. You could get bold, and lay ambitious plans to aggressively expand your work, your staff, and your resources – maybe to widen the scope of your mission, or to widen the geographical area you serve.
4. You could latch onto a grand, new, different understanding of your organization, its mission, or some other fundamental thing, and pivot – to become, or do, something very different from the path your history has led you to to this point.
Now, consider. Is No. 1 a sure-fire recipe for disaster? Is No. 2 irresponsible – too weak of a response considering the resources and momentum you have? Is No. 3 unnecessarily dangerous and disruptive? Is No. 4 a very bad idea, if things are going well?
In fact, the best path might be any one of these four, depending on your situation. There is no simple answer here (sorry). Sometimes the word of wisdom is, “If It ain’t broke don’t fix it!” Sometimes it’s, “A rut is just a grave with the ends knocked out!”
love, joy, peace … Michael
www.michaeljaffarian.com. I’m a freelance consultant to nonprofits, with an emphasis on research. I’m keen to learn about your organization, and you might be interested in learning more about what I do. Let’s have a conversation. Write to me, people! email@example.com.
Vol. 1 No. 54