It seems that those of us attracted to nonprofit leadership are very good at “doing.” We see a need right in front of us and fill it. And fill it again.

In fact, we get so good at seeing the need in front of us, that we forget to lift up our head.

A view of the horizon

A trainer once told us that board meetings should be regular intervals to help the Executive Director lift up her head and see the horizon. But often boards are full of “do-ers” too. So they just focus on the needs in front of them with little regard for the vision of the future.

But why are you doing what you’re doing? It’s the first step in our strategic planning process for a reason. Stephen Covey called it the Habit #2: “Begin with the End in Mind.”

A coordinated effort? Or a bunch of pet projects?

Doing is a strength. But knowing what you’re doing is crucial too. Can you imagine if you bought a plot of land, purchased all the materials and tools to build a house, and even hired the crew, but had no plans? Each would work on their pet project with little regard for the big picture. And each would “know” that they were completely justified in their choice.

Having an idea of the “why” helps you be more nimble. You see opportunities as they come up. And you see areas that may need to be changed.

Where are you headed?

As you go about your work this week, be sure to remember the “why.” Block some time on your calendar to review your strategic plan. Or to get off the dance floor. Remind yourself – personally or organizationally – where your horizon is. What outcomes you want to have.

Afterall, like David Campbell’s book title says, If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.

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