I’m not great at resolutions. I have great intentions, just lousy follow through. After all my years I have learned that the higher I set my sights, the less opportunity I have to succeed. So I keep expectations low and generally feel better about how things turn out. I may not be a better or healthier person, but I won’t have failed so often in my goals.

    It’s safe and comfortable. (Or at least it feels that way.)

    Often I see churches and other nonprofits take a “safe” approach to planning and to goal setting. They, too, don’t want to fail, so they set the bar an easy distance from the ground, satisfied with meeting goals rather pushing their organizations to the next level.

    Take a look at your agency, school or church. Do you see any of these signs?

    • You remember going through a strategic planning process, but the location of (and contents of) the final document eludes you and others. Or even worse, it never was completed.
    • Declining attendance, enrollment and giving is still blamed on the 2008 recession.
    • The facilities budget is heavy on the duct tape and light on strategic reinvestment and maintenance.
    • When you look to the future, you picture doing the same things for the same people in the same way.

    You get the idea. My advice? Get out of your comfort zone. Start 2016 with a commitment to planning for the future. Get close to your members, clients and community. Understand their needs and commit to addressing those needs. Success and health come from hard work and a willingness to risk.

    Maybe I’ll even take my own advice and venture out of my comfort zone too!


    Need further inspiration? These articles offer great ways to think about resolutions and goals, both personally and organizationally:


    From the Unexecutive Blog:

    “If you want to create an ordinary year, all you have to do is set possible goals. If you’re diligent, hardworking, and things go as planned you’ll probably be successful. But if you want to do something extraordinary, you have to do more, you have to set impossible goals.

    You see, when you set possible goals you get focused on logistics. You ask yourself what do I need to do to achieve this? But impossible goals ask you to do more than that. They require you to see beyond your normal methods and get creative. They ask you to consider the kind of person you’re going to have to become in order to create extraordinary results.”

    From the Nonprofit Hub Blog:

    “We all think that we need more time, more money or resources (and not just in our professional lives).

    But really, we don’t need more time. Everyone has the same amount of hours in the day.

    What we really need is to do LESS, so we can absolutely knock out the few truly important things, with relish and energy, every day.

    Once you focus on the most important things for your nonprofit (and your specific job there), you’ll magically find you DO have enough time.”

    Posted by Thom Peters
    Thom Peters

    Written by Thom Peters

    Thom has held executive positions with YMCAs in Albuquerque, San Jose, Chicago and Milwaukee, allowing him to develop expertise in leadership, group work, strategic planning, volunteerism, and staff development. He has demonstrated a keen ability to listen to and understand an organization’s needs, helping them bridge the gaps between status quo and mission fulfillment.

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