Success! It Depends on Your Mindset

board development and revitalization intentional practices strategic planning and policy development the board/ceo partnership Aug 08, 2022


How would you characterize your organizational mindset? And could it be interfering with your impact?


Do you have an organizational mindset, producing goods and services for customers? Dare we call this an industrial-era model of production?


Or do you have a relational mindset, more of a network model, where your raison d’être is to catalyze social change by inspiring action in others?

It makes a difference to your impact.


I have reflected on this reality recently as I consider two different approaches to making a difference.


An Agency Wanting to Make A Difference vs. An Agency Protecting its Turf


Here is an agency wanting to make a difference…


To begin the strategic planning process, they identified all community groups committed to the same broad goals as they were, in this case, family literacy.


They then identified the current strategic plan of each agency, as taken from their website (sadly, in most cases only, as apparently these can be considered secret!). They analyzed missions, visions, values and specific goals and intended outcomes of each organization. Next was identifying patterns and themes, perceived service duplication and apparent gaps.


This was important, and the work was done with volunteers with staff direction and oversight.


Next was the critical piece, however.


Each Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director, and Board Chair was invited to attend a session reviewing the work.

Who do you know that could benefit from shifting their organizational mindset? Share this article!



There was uniform surprise at the number of agencies involved, their commitment to common purposes and their interest in improving service delivery to make a difference.


Now compare this to another scenario from my experience…


Consider an impoverished neighbourhood area where dozens of agencies are addressing the needs of the same group of people. More and more money is shoveled in for support.


Each agency protects its turf. Dissatisfaction leads to more not-for-profits springing up. The agencies refuse to meet and collaborate lest they lose some of their perceived uniqueness and luster.


This is a true story.


What Success as a Not-for-Profit Organization Really Means


How can anyone pretend to be committed to the greater good? to make a difference? to have a lasting community impact? if our bottom-line interest is our narrow perspective and self-importance.


Success and impact mean collaboration, partnerships and developing a network to achieve common goals and related missions – you may even have the same vision.


Success is found when not-for-profits strive to create collective impact rather than work in isolation, focused only on shoring up their organizations.


How do you address this critical issue around your Board table?

What are your main “pain points” dealing with collaboration and partnerships?

What advice would be most helpful to you? And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!


Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.



Make an Impact with Your Board Today

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The course complements and reinforces your on-site orientation and opens new channels of communication and discussion.

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The Board Leader Academy:

A step-by-step guide to higher performance and impact.

Our spotlight course is designed for CEOs/Executive Directors, Board Chairs, and those who are interested in leadership positions on not-for-profit, for-impact boards.

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P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? 

Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.

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