Thursday, August 18, 2016

Creating Your Noble Purpose Statement

Every person associated with an organization should be able to explain the Noble Purpose of the organization in an “elevator” speech that is sixty seconds long or less.

This builds off the last blog where I discussed Lisa McLeod’s recent book, Leading with Noble Purpose.

McLeod uses business examples, but this can easily be translated for nonprofits and government.  In order to create a Noble Purpose Statement, begin by asking three important questions:

1.  How do you make a difference to your customers?  For nonprofits/government, we would ask what difference/impact you make for those you serve.  Make sure to identify the “ripple impacts” you make.  For example, you may provide direct services in literacy education, but what other ripple differences does that make in the community once someone can read.  They can get a job, this reduces unemployment, helps the tax base, impacts the rest of their family, etc.

2.  How do you do it differently from your competition?

3.  On your best day, what do you love about your job?

Going through these questions helps you get in touch with the Noble Purpose of your organization – the difference you make for others.  Your mission statement can inform this conversation, but this is way more than memorizing your mission statement.

This would be a great exercise for a staff retreat or special staff meeting.  By the end, each person should have crafted their own personal version of a Noble Purpose Statement.  Each version should have the same basic theme, but people can emphasize different aspects of the purpose.

Your organization makes an important Mission Impact.  You need to be able to explain it in a clear, compelling way that inspires you and others.



For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site.  You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Leading with Noble Purpose

In Lisa McLeod’s newest book, Leading with Noble Purpose (2016), she expands the view of her earlier bestselling book, Selling with Noble Purpose (2012), to encourage leaders at all levels to guide their organization’s performance and strategy based on the Noble Purpose for which they exist.

For government and not-for-profit entities this idea seems to come naturally as – at their origins – these organizations were created with some Noble Purpose in mind.  For some in the for-profit world, this might seem to be a stretch.  Shouldn’t performance be focused on making money?  McLeod says “no.”  Some of her key points include:

*Research shows that salespeople who sell with the Noble Purpose of their company in mind – who truly want to make a difference in the lives of their customers – outsell those who are more focused on targets or quotas.

*Promoting the Noble Purpose of your firm increases employee engagement – which is correlated with customer satisfaction and profit.

*Leading with Noble Purpose can ultimately make more money for a firm.  McLeod says “As a Noble Purpose leader, you must believe that your business adds value to the world and you deserve to be paid for it.”  This is about a company delighting its customers with its Noble Purpose and making good money while doing so.

While Noble Purpose may seem more natural for government and not-for-profit organizations, they also have a lot to learn from McLeod’s recommendations.  In my experience it is very easy for leaders to focus on short term issues and activities, rather than continually reminding their team of their Noble Purpose.  I’ve seen this happen, for example, within the fundraising function where executives can get myopic about dollars raised and lose sight of mission.  While “No Money, No Mission” is a truism, it is vital that we continually remind ourselves of the Noble Purpose of the dollars being raised.

How does one create a focused Noble Purpose for an organization?  That will be the topic of the next blog.  Stay tuned.


For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site.  You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

Leading with Noble Purpose

In Lisa McLeod’s newest book, Leading with Noble Purpose (2016), she expands the view of her earlier bestselling book, Selling with Noble Purpose (2012), to encourage leaders at all levels to guide their organization’s performance and strategy based on the Noble Purpose for which they exist.

For government and not-for-profit entities this idea seems to come naturally as – at their origins – these organizations were created with some Noble Purpose in mind.  For some in the for-profit world, this might seem to be a stretch.  Shouldn’t performance be focused on making money?  McLeod says “no.”  Some of her key points include:

*Research shows that salespeople who sell with the Noble Purpose of their company in mind – who truly want to make a difference in the lives of their customers – outsell those who are more focused on targets or quotas.

*Promoting the Noble Purpose of your firm increases employee engagement – which is correlated with customer satisfaction and profit.

*Leading with Noble Purpose can ultimately make more money for a firm.  McLeod says “As a Noble Purpose leader, you must believe that your business adds value to the world and you deserve to be paid for it.”  This is about a company delighting its customers with its Noble Purpose and making good money while doing so.

While Noble Purpose may seem more natural for government and not-for-profit organizations, they also have a lot to learn from McLeod’s recommendations.  In my experience it is very easy for leaders to focus on short term issues and activities, rather than continually reminding their team of their Noble Purpose.  I’ve seen this happen, for example, within the fundraising function where executives can get myopic about dollars raised and lose sight of mission.  While “No Money, No Mission” is a truism, it is vital that we continually remind ourselves of the Noble Purpose of the dollars being raised.

How does one create a focused Noble Purpose for an organization?  That will be the topic of the next blog.  Stay tuned.


For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site.  You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Time to Think, Part Two: Vacations

As discussed in the last blog, finding time to think during the regular work day is important for our creativity and productivity.

But finding time for a full recharge is just as important.   And that means “unplugging” from work during vacation.


In a recent article** in The Wall Street Journal, Brian Scudamore, CEO of O2E Brands, states the following:

“I realized that unless I unplug completely on vacation, I cheat myself out of generating fresh, new, creative ideas. In the long run, business suffers from my burnout.

“I also think that if our people don’t disconnect, they end up compromising their contributions to our overall mission. More importantly, they fail at what should be their top priority: cherishing time with family and friends, and having work-life balance.”

But how to do it?  Brian has a very creative plan.  He works with his assistant to change his passwords on his email and social media accounts, and to not tell him what they are until he returns from vacation.  He has his COO cover for him while he is gone.

“The results have been revolutionary,” says Scudamore.  “I come back from vacation super-charged, rested and feeling like I gave my family and friends my best self.”

I admit that it sounds difficult and amazing that this CEO can pull this off.

But I challenge you and myself to try.  The next time I go on vacation (soon), I am going to take some baby steps.  I am going to try THREE WHOLE DAYS not checking work email.  And then I’ll just glance at it after that.  We’ll see how it goes.  Maybe I will be up for changing my passwords the next time around.

The more refreshed we are – day in and day out – and over time, the better quality we can bring to our work and make an even more significant Mission Impact.  Try a real vacation next time! 





For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site.  You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Time to Think

“Slow down, you move too fast.  You got to make the morning last.”
                  -Simon & Garfunkel, The 59th Street Bridge Song

How many times has it happened to you?  You glance at your Smart Phone during a meeting and notice it is 2:30 p.m..  “What!?!  Where has this day gone already?”

Today’s workplace is characterized by endless meetings and tons of email.  We seem to be busy, busy, busy from the time we wake up and glance at that Smart Phone to check emails that have come in overnight.  And recent research from the University of Maryland shows that American workers are spending even more time on the job than they did ten years ago.  But, what about the “quality” of all that busyness? Consider this quote from Wendy Clark, CEO of DDB North America:

“We are infinitely more productive when we have time to think.” (Fast Company, July/August 2016)

Time to Think. What a concept!

Consider this quote from a recent article in The Wall Street Journal*:

“Managers and knowledge workers, such as consultants, now spend 90% to 95% of their working hours in meetings, on the phone and responding to email”

Sound like your life?  And there’s more:

“Research and advisory firm CEB Inc. has found that 35% to 40% of managers ‘are so overloaded that it’s actually impossible for them to get work done effectively,’ said Brian Kropp, a CEB leader who works with chief HR officers.”
 
If you can give yourself time to think, I suggest it will improve the quality of your work in two ways: the quality of your decisions and the quality of your creativity.  It will probably also improve the quality of your relationships.

How to do it?  Two suggestions to begin:

*Renegotiate expectations about your availability with everyone

*Begin blocking time exclusively for you to think and get your own work done.  No meetings!

You deserve it.  Give yourself Time to Think.

*The Wall Street Journal, “So Busy at Work, No Time to Do the Job,” June 28, 2016.


For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site. You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.