Success by Association - May/June 2017 - 11

L

ike any business, nonprofits need strong leadership to
achieve their aims. In Gene Wickman's book, Traction -
Get a Grip on Your Business, he provides insights
for success in entrepreneurial for-profit businesses;
but with some modification, many of his concepts need to be
considered by nonprofits. Whether the organization is causebased, membership-based, or a foundation, these concepts can
be applied to insure success.
Let's consider the six key areas described in Traction and how
they apply to nonprofit organizations. They are: vision, people,
data, issues, process, and traction.

Vision
A vision is a picture of the future your organization is trying
to create. It generally entails doing something that benefits
a target group or cause, association members with special
needs, the environment, or animals. Most organizations have a
Vision and Mission. Both are components of the strategic plan.
In developing a strong vision, consider the following questions:
u	What are your core values?
u	What is your future target?
u	What are the areas of focus that must be developed to be
successful?
u	What are your goals?
The core values are those guiding principles for your
organization. They include items such as service to others,
honesty, teamwork, and your relationship with members. They
define your culture and are the basis for making decisions on a
daily basis. These values need to be present in any prospective
employee, volunteer, or board members brought into the
organization. Conversely, if it is determined that a person
does not share these values, it is time to have them depart the
organization.
Your vision is also based upon what you want to be at some
future date. That may be 10 years, 5 years, or 3 years in the
future. The leadership must determine this time frame based
on their best estimate of what it will take to build the effort. In
today's ever changing world, shorter is better.
Areas of focus can also be defined as goal categories. These
are the areas in which you need to develop goals. Categories
might include membership, fund raising, development of
volunteers, board engagement, and programs.
Goals need to be carefully developed and prioritized in each
goal category. They need to be SMART (specific, measurable,
achievable, realistically high, and time based). Once goals
are established, your vison needs to be narrowed down into
90 day windows. This is the difference between long-term
and short term goals. These 90-day goals are referred to as
Quarterly Rocks. These should be few in number, given specific

"Just because a nonprofit is
working for a "good cause"
doesn't mean it doesn't have to
pay attention to being well-run."
responsibility, and have a schedule for completion. They need
to be reviewed and reported upon by the leadership team on a
regular basis as often as weekly.

People
Having "the right people in the right seats" - e.g. the right
trained staff in the right jobs, and the right people on the right
teams - is critical in any organization. Just because a nonprofit
is working for a "good cause" doesn't mean it doesn't have to
pay attention to being well-run.
In addition to staff, nonprofits rely internally on 2 critical
groups of people: (1) volunteers-who essentially are unpaid
staff, and (2) a volunteer board of directors.
Volunteers are vital for most nonprofits, and indeed most
nonprofits start by being run by volunteers since there is no
money for paid staff. A typical development cycle for small
organizations might be:
u	Someone has a great idea and, with the help of a few
others, gets it started. Everyone helps out; they believe in
the cause.
u	As more people volunteer there is a need for better
organization: differentiation of volunteer roles; a core
group becomes the decision-making group, acting like a
board.
u	Work expands to the degree that one or more full-time
staff are needed and hired, and they work closely with
volunteers.
u	Over time more staff are added and a staff structure
is developed, and the organizational and governance
structure becomes formalized.
u	Clarity of roles among staff, volunteers and board is vital.
Lack of role clarification is a major cause of problems in
nonprofits. Areas that require particular attention are:
relationship between staff and volunteers; role of the board
and of individual board members; relationship between
chief executive/executive director and the board.
u	Watch for lack of alignment or lack of communication
among departments or other units of the organization.
Use of an accountability matrix can help. Likewise, use of
continued on next page >
may/june 2017

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success

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Success by Association - May/June 2017

How To Help Your Managers (or You) Resolve Conflict in the Workplace
Core4 Principles to Demonstrate Member Value
Annual Meeting Preview
What To Do in Winston-Salem
Annual Meeting Registration Form
You’ll Lobby for Me Whether or Not I Join!
What Are You Bringing to the Table?
President’s Message
Event Calendar
Buyers’ Guide
Member Updates
Advertiser Index
Young Leader Profile
Advertiser Showcase
Executive Director’s Message
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - Intro
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - cover1
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - cover2
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - 3
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - President’s Message
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - Event Calendar
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - 6
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - How To Help Your Managers (or You) Resolve Conflict in the Workplace
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - Core4 Principles to Demonstrate Member Value
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - 9
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - 10
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - 11
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - 12
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - 13
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - 14
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - 15
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - Annual Meeting Preview
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - 17
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - What To Do in Winston-Salem
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - Annual Meeting Registration Form
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - You’ll Lobby for Me Whether or Not I Join!
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - Buyers’ Guide
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - Member Updates
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - 23
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - What Are You Bringing to the Table?
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - Advertiser Index
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - Young Leader Profile
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - 27
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - Advertiser Showcase
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - 29
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - Executive Director’s Message
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - cover3
Success by Association - May/June 2017 - cover4
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