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Purpose-driven organization executives are not supposed to be selling and being overtly demonstrative about what they do, their organizations' achievements, and ambitious goals.
You cannot generate the funding and resources base that you need to grow your organization by being obscure and being rated second-class.
You cannot grow unless you have good strategies and the discipline to focus your energies on the right tools, techniques, and approaches.
You cannot maintain your successes without seriously creating more opportunities for your organization by being bold enough to put a definite mark on what you do best.
In other words, being top-of-mind is the antidote for obscurity and being obsolete.
Learn to ride with the waves and avoid getting entangled with the thorns floating along the way.
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2023 is almost over. I bought my daughter a Chocolate Advent Calendar marking the days to Christmas and New Year. For organizational executives, leaders, and business owners, needing to look at 2024 as strategic year, here are 15 questions to bring your focus your attention on strategy, change, and leadership.
Strategic Success not Perfection
I was talking to an Executive Director a few months ago about a strategy exercise they wanted to do. They decided to do a bridging strategy until a new relationship agreements are inked with a major donor. Small-scale, daring or modest, it's all about the implementation.
1. What are the musts-goals?
2. What interests and ambitions must be protected and guarded?
3. Who implements this strategy and what resources are already earmarked for it?
4. When it comes to communicating the change component of the strategy, what is the main crux of your narrative?
5. Who decides what to be done? What stakeholder mechanisms are in place to safeguard organizational-wide support and engagement?
Managing Change is like Flying a Kite
I used to fly a kite when I was a little kid growing up in suburban Manila. In the early 80s, we played games outside using cans, bottles, and we even cut some plant leaves and made a soup out of it and ate it too! Improvisation is key only when you have creativity.
1. Do you know where you are in your change process?
2. Have you looked at framing, reframing, and rebooting your change narrative as you adapt to more sub-changes within that big change?
3. Who needs to be informed, consulted, and won over your side over time?
4. What cultural changes and behaviors are to be championed for change to set and be retained?
5. Who is your greatest ally at this point and what could be your next selling
I was teaching in a fellowship programme. One fellow said that he is not leading anyone. He is the finance guy and does most of his work alone with little coordination with other people in other departments. I told him that he needs to lead himself more effectively if he wants to be impactful at work and in other areas of his life.
1. When was the last time you invested in yourself that brought tremendous benefits?
2. When was the last time that it didn't make a difference?
3. What can you do next year that would make a huge difference in that one problem/situation you're dealing with?
4. What positive mindset would you carry for the rest of 2024 constantly reminding yourself when faced with challenges?
5. Who are your allies and supporters? How can you work alongside them to help you be accountable to your goals?
From my family to yours, I wish you peace, calm, ease, great fellowship, and comfort this wonderful season. Happy Christmas and a Joyful and Abundant 2024!
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I had the great privilege of doing research around cooperatives that are run by immigrant professionals or catering to the immigrant submarkets in Canada. This is very interesting to me as a part of the advisory committee, as an independent consultant, an instructor and lifelong student of social entrepreneurship.
The best thing about the process of building a newcomer professional cooperatives for the whole country was our decision to start small, low, and slow. We need to learn from those that have been around 15 years ago up to those that just started during the height of the pandemic. How are they persisting, surviving, or what led to their early demise?
One by one factors became clear. The founding members of the cooperative can make and break the organization by simply pulling out commitment and engagement at an early stage where everything is just dependent on everyone putting in their share of the work. Another reason is the lack of process of arriving at decisions that are equitable and fair for all concerned. The definition of fairness, equity, and cooperation is something that could be based on values, mission, and vision of the organization and the practicalities of creating a team where needs are met and valued with respect and dignity.
The third factor surprisingly is about how they show up for income-generation to get them started. With the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) on high demand by organizations and companies, these cooperatives rode on the high but do not have the Plan B in case the hype on this subject wanes and hits its inevitable decline. The truth of the matter is that like any other hype-driven, externally-imposed change practices, research shows that it is more tokenistic and rarely brings about lasting change unless management and senior leadership provides support, buy-in, and commitment to the outcomes they are trying to seek. Buyers of this service would peter out for sure as organizations realize that this is not just about a purchase of coaching, a training session, and three-ring binder of the module or a video.
Lastly, most of these cooperatives are for-profit enterprises that have a clear goal at the outset towards a viable commercial success. But unlike the private competition, the issues of money, financial discipline and controls, and sustainability are not as rigorously thought or understood, or maybe have been evaded until the worse becomes a reality. Marketing has become an afterthought or a knee-jerk reaction. Most of them are subject matter experts and are not really marketing strategists and does not have the time or inclination or discipline to learn more in this department.
Running a business is not a hobby or a charity for which some incomes go to the staff who needs to send some back home to feed his family. Survival in the marketplace is always tough and cooperatives are not spared of this even though, they mean well.