Less cash doesn't have to mean less mission.  Albeit painful, seasons of crunch force us to re-examine, re-engineer, and re-fine our understanding of the organization's essence. Success has a way of obscuring the essence. It leads to what my friend Jim Sheppard calls "Fat Thinking" (Jim is with Generis.)

Scarcity, on the other hand, brings clarity. And it's in the clarity that your organization can surge forward. Peter Drucker reminds us that the great problem of non-profits is a lack of focus. Henry Ford said that the basic human problem is that we do too much. I can't tell you how many leaders I have heard say, "This season was tough, but we are better for it." It's a genuine response to the fruit of clarity.

Consider how a cutback...

  • Forces limitations that spark innovation

  • Exposes the #1 priority that was getting buried

  • Consolidates redundant structures and systems

  • Makes us act when we previously wavered

  • Re-centers the core competency we were slowly neglecting

  • Slows us down to strengthen our foundation

  • Refreshes our faith and allegiance to the mission

  • Connects us to frontline and grassroots as we "get granular"

Clarity means less weight and more passion. Maybe your cutback is what one Texas boy called, "a squat before you leap." My dad, an instructor pilot, taught us that sometimes, you have to descend in order to gain altitude.

Maybe it's not a cutback after all.  Maybe we should call it a "createnew."
Topics: Date: Jan 29, 2010 Tags: core competency / cutback / innovation / Mission