Quick. What three things come to mind when you think GREAT
ORGANIZATION? Plenty of communities give out awards to 501 C
organizations, various publications highlight “great” organizations and
the work they do or some milestone achieved. A few watchdog
organizations even rate organizations based on established metrics to
give them stars or a letter grade to help guide or influence people to
possibly support, volunteer or work with those that make the grade. I
have interacted with a lot of organizations in my lifetime - some tree
top and some grass-root. And although the majority of those had many
great attributes, programs and of course AMAZING people, I wouldn’t
say in a blanket statement, that any of them were great.
My definition of a great organization is one that has a healthy work
culture as reflected in minimal turnover because staff are paid fairly
and workloads are manageable. A great organization to me also
means that there is continuous improvement at all different levels, the
phrase “it is not in the budget, or we don’t have the money” is NEVER
uttered, much less thought and generally speaking great also
translates to me as being sustainable. Sustainable to the point that
allows leadership to actually have a line item in the annual budget for
training every employee, for an effective succession plan, capacity
building workshops to enhance effectiveness or about the latest tech
tool available, and Yes a line item even for marketing dollars - as our
friend Dan Pallotta has taught us is a good and necessary thing.
Reserves are important too.
Even though I have only been in our sector for 16 years - excluding
hospitals and universities, I can count the organizations on one hand
that thought that they were in a good place financially.
Probably because human tendency leans toward progress. Just as a
tree grows up, reaches toward the sky - humans too tend to look
onward and upward; especially when it comes to business. So even
though our checking and maybe even savings accounts look good and
we can plan for another year or two and add that cushion to our
reserves, we usually want more.
It takes a lot of planning to make an organization great. A lot. It takes
discipline, seeking out wisdom from others, being able to step back
and get perspective on a regular basis and frequent course
correction. We all have blind-spots. Blind spots are those annoying
habits that you may not even realize you do like interrupting someone
while they are in mid-sentence. Organizations have blind spots. Trust
me on this.
As you work hard and hopefully wisely to build a great organization,
areas you need to be diligent with include:
Ensuring your board is capable, well organized and that they are in
harmony moving the mission and strategic direction forward. Nothing
should be hidden from the board, selecting what you share with them.
They have a huge responsibility and if you chose your board members
properly and trained them well, they can handle moving the
organization forward and help you and your staff achieve greatness.
Financial Management - Needs and resource assessment especially
as it relates to cash flow. Structure should exist to ensure compliance
and long-term financial health.
Programs/ Services- Can you prove the effectiveness of your
program? Can your program be better? Are you constantly asking for
feedback from those you serve? Do you know what best practice
information is out there so you can learn from others?
Community Relationships - Does the community you serve love you?
Do those relationships bring you joy? Would your be missed if it were
Staff - Is turnover low? Do your employees thrive? Is communication
free flowing? Do you contract with an outside third party on a regular
basis (or at least every so often) to do a 360° assessment and review
the results as a team? Is the work culture healthy?
Operations - Are objectives, activities and timelines clear for everyone
in the organization?
Greatness is achievable for any and all organizations and takes a
plan. Set your standards high, write down your wish list and aim for
the moon. Be patient, strategic and never give up - your dreams will
For a limited time, we are running a special on organizational assessments for
$2,995.00*. Contact email@example.com for more information.