Good to Great: Growth Strategies for Up-and-Coming Nonprofits
Disciplined thought. The best organizations and leaders are rooted in reality, including the harsh reality of their performance against the mission. Still, they don't allow the situation to prevent vision and focus, and they believe the organization will succeed. So you need to not only boast of success, but acknowledge failure and relay the truth—all of the truth—about your performance against mission.
The best nonprofits identify their core competencies and strive to be the best in those—even if that means being the best local hospice charity in your city, for example. Greatness comes about by consistently applying a simple, coherent idea—what =mc calls the "Hedgehog Concept."
The hedgehog concept involves three intersecting circles: what you can be the best at, what you're passionate about and what drives your resource engine. Too many people spend too much time pursuing the new rather than focusing on core competencies. Make sure your organization spends most of its resources on the intersection of what you're the best at, what you're passionate about and what drives your resource engine—while investing remaining time on the new and innovative.
Disciplined action. Disciplined people who engage in disciplined thought and take disciplined action are the cornerstones of a greatness culture. In this culture, people work in a systemic way and operate with freedom in a framework of responsibilities. This helps foster innovation and accountability—workers are given responsibilities and can go about achieving those responsibilities in a way that works best for both them and the organization.
This helps lead to adopting innovative approaches that build long-term success—not short-term wins such a direct mail test or new database. It's about finding new ways to deliver services, build new partnerships, and meeting the need and new demands in society. It's incumbent upon leadership to find and invest in the techniques and technologies that will transform the way the organization operates. Then the nonprofit must build momentum with these new changes to show progress and change the mind-set of being satisfied with good in order to achieve greatness.