Friday, February 21, 2014

Do you kill souls or touch hearts with your mission?

You know the conference room. An urn of percolating coffee. Styrofoam cups. Cherry pastries from Panera. Bottled water. Cell phones vibrating. White boards. Flip charts. Permanent marker smell. Org charts. Small groups. Perky facilitators…

This is the time of year for your strategic planning retreat (or advance). And the first order of business is ALWAYS a review of your mission statement.

Here’s the problem. Most nonprofits articulate their mission in terms of organizational success or a comprehensive list of programs.
  • “Our mission is to be the provider of choice in blah, blah, blah services.”

  • “We provide yada, dada, and bada programs to disadvantaged youth in our community.”
  • "We work to enhance the quality of life in Nearlyperfect County by offering the best arts education and performance opportunities.

Do these mission statements look familiar to you? Did you just spend half of your Saturday duking it out in an epic wordsmith battle with a realtor, a banker, an attorney, and a grade school teacher?
I’ve got to be honest with you.These mission statements kill my soul. 

If I’m going to give away my money to your nonprofit, or if I’m going to spend 40+ hours a week working for your organization, or if I’m going to volunteer to be away from my family in service of your mission, you’d better set my heart on fire.

The good news is that there are two simple questions that can focus these discussions to produce a concise mission statement with heart, soul, and legs that generate revenue.

The whole purpose of your organization is to change somebody’s life. You make people go from sad to happy. From hungry to full. From delayed to advanced. From depressed to inspired. From uninformed to data-driven. From addicted to clean. From sick to healthy. From damned to redeemed. And so on and so on ad infinitum.

Your mission statement ought to reflect that, and anyone who represents your organization—from your board members to your janitorial staff to your weekly volunteers—ought to know exactly whose lives they are changing and what the specific transformation is.

These are my simple questions when I facilitate board retreats.

  • Who are your primary beneficiaries (clients, consumers, participants—whatever you call the important people you are serving)?
  • What specific, positive transformations or changes occur in your primary beneficiaries because of the programs and services you provide?

Your mission is simple. Your mission is to create those specific, positive transformations in your beneficiaries. That's what inspires. That's what is important. It should feel so profound that everyone who touches your organization from staff to board to fundraisers and donors understands that it is a privilege to serve.

Your mission is most definitely not about offering programs and services (those can and should change according to the times, circumstances and opportunities.) 

Your mission is about changing peoples’ lives. Go set some hearts on fire!

I'll share some examples in a future post! In the meantime, if you have a mission with heart that you want to share with the world, leave a comment below!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Do you know you need to make a change, but… but… but… something always gets in the way?

You get distracted. You’re unmotivated. You don’t know what you’re passionate about.

You can do something to create happiness now.

Take action at the Embracing Feminine Leadership Conference on March 7, 2014.

Randi Light, Transformation Specialist, Mental Trainer and Healer, will challenge her audience to “Ignite your Purpose, Passion, and Productivity” at the Embracing Feminine Leadership Conference on March 7.

“Sometimes front line sales and fundraising professionals feel stuck, angry, and unable to make progress with their customers and donors and in their personal lives because of fear and doubt,” said Light. “I guide people through a process of self-questioning, discovery, and hypnosis in order to align their conscious and subconscious minds.”

If you are ready to focus on the positive changes you want to make in your life, put your best qualities to work, and to lead from a position of confidence instead of fear, then join Randi Light for the Embracing Feminine Leadership Conference on March 7, 2014; 7:30am-4:00pm at the Best Western Indian Oaks, in Chesterton, IN.  Register online:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Does your communication style get you in trouble at work?

Do something about it.

Learn the Three Keys to Effective Communication.

Do people ignore your requests? Or, do team members do the job, but with a chip on their shoulders? Do you dread giving performance feedback because you're afraid of a tearful or angry reaction? Or, does your sales team or frontline fundraiser choke when it comes to closing the deal?

Take action at the Embracing Feminine Leadership Conference on March 7.

Instead of chalking it up to hormones (yours or theirs), you can learn to take control of the situation to improve performance by finding the middle ground in your communication style.

Kealah Parkinson, Communications Coach and Author, will teach confidence to conference-goers by harnessing the power of both passive/active communication and empathic/strategic listening.

The Three Keys to Communication include:
  1. Self-awareness, or understanding your natural style of communication,
  2. Relational honesty, how to listen and communicate with family, coworkers, clients, etc., and
  3. Universal honesty, how your communication style reflects and affects the world around you.

"My goal is to teach confidence," says Parkinson, "I want each person to gain a sense of control in situations that normally lower confidence and cause confusion."

Parkinson will present "Sexually Speaking: Leaning into Conflict" at the Embracing Feminine Leadership Conference, March 7, 2014; 7:30am-4:00pm at the Best Western Indian Oak Spa in Chesterton, Indiana. Register online: Embracing Feminine Leadership Conference