Do you ever feel like you are on the hamster wheel of nonprofit life? Get up, make your coffee, drive to the office, answer email, attend a few meetings, drive home, and do it all over again like Groundhog Day. Do I have it about right?
When I ask nonprofit CEOs and executive leaders the vision and/or mission of their organization, less than 1 percent can answer the question. The vision and/or mission statement has been lost in the shuffle of emails and phone calls, lost in a computer hard drive, or attracted dust framed on a wall. Most vision/mission statements have lost their spirit.
Do you know the vision of your organization without looking it up or Google-ing it?
If you want to get out of Ground Hog’s day, it’s time to revisit, revitalize, reboot, your vision/mission statement. Chances are your organization’s vision/mission statement was written more than ten years ago. Here are three power questions, and one bonus question, to ask that will help you determine what stands between you and the excitement of attaining your organization’s vision.
Three Questions Standing Between You and Your Vision:
- Is the vision/mission too long?
When most vision/mission statements were written, we loved words. The more words you wrote, the more powerful you sounded as an organization. In today’s twitter world, less is more. With each word, you actually loose power. If your vision is many sentences, I hear wah… wah… wah… by the second sentence. If you had to break your vision down to six words or less, what would they be? If your vision/mission is a paragraph – it’s time to revisit the vision/mission.
- Do you feel inspired by the words?
If you can’t feel excitement doing the work to make the vision/mission a reality, you will not do it. You do not put heart into it. As CEO or executive leader, you should have the vision/mission of your organization memorized with your head and your heart. By this I mean you should be able to recite the exact words of the vision in a powerful way, and also state them from your heart. It is after all your life’s work. You spend your waking hours making it come true, right? If you are not proud of the statement – revitalize your heart in it.
- Who created this statement?
If your vision/mission is long and lacks feeling. It may be time to reboot it. Let’s be clear I am not saying start over. Honor all the work of the leaders who built it. Then build a team to co-create what your vision/mission in this technology economy. Years ago vision statements were created on high, behind walls of great executives. Today visions should be co-created in open environments, where the people in charge of making the vision/mission happen have a say in what it is. In my book Ctrl+Alt+Believe: Reboot Your Association For Success, I share more on techniques and activities that reboot your vision with creativity and visualization tools.
- Bonus Question – Does every action item on your business plan or intentions plan get you closer to this vision?
No? If you are on the metaphorical hamster wheel, you may have lost touch with the power of your vision and mission. It’s key to make sure every action item gets you closer to realizing the purpose of your organization. Activate this tip and projects that no longer serve your membership or community easefully fall away.
You do not actualize your vision because you have lost the awareness of the power in it. By simplifying your vision/mission, choosing inspiring words, co-creating this with key staff, community members, and leaders, and aligning your daily work with the vision, you will find your community transformed to new levels of love for the work they do and for your community.