Simon Sinek has it right…start with the “why”.
There is a distinct paradox in the not-for-profit sector (and in private business as well). We continue to focus on “how” and “what” we do; with little focus on “why” we do it. And then, we stress about lack of engagement and lack of relevancy of our organization.
And there lies the paradox…we expect to be relevant, without meeting the needs of the people we serve.
Simon Sinek, for those who don’t know, has an incredible presentation entitled “Start With Why”. He suggests that many businesses have an understanding of what they do and how they do it; but, lack an understanding of why they do what they do. Check out the video presentation on YouTube.
Strategic planning for many organizations focuses on “let’s get it done”. It’s an inward focus on internal objectives and processes…the “what” and the “how” as Sinek would say.
Many organizations focus on membership growth, increased sponsorships, bigger/better events, and improved networking opportunities. But, are these relevant to the people you serve?
I rarely heard from business people that they wanted another networking event to attend, or that they wanted to see increased membership. These are internal objectives which sidetrack many organizations. Important for sustainability yes, but this is not defining your value proposition.
It’s important that you separate the needs of the organization (sustainability) from the needs of the people you serve (value proposition). Often, the two conflict; a strong organization finds balance between the two objectives.
This work begins before you get into the strategy session. Recently I facilitated “visioning sessions” for organizations who got it right! They have strategic plans, they know where their organization is going. But, they wanted to know how they can improve engagement, impact, and relevancy of their organization.
We focused on one pivotal question: “What do we need to do to increase engagement, impact, and relevancy by 2021?”
Before you go into your next strategy session, start with the “why”.