For most of us, spring is a time for spring cleaning. Many of us have been watching Marie Kondo on Netflix and saying thank you and good-bye to those things that don’t bring us joy anymore. For some of us, now is the time to detox our bodies, start a fast, cleanse our systems, and re-charge. And for those of us who are leading and managing our own businesses, churches, and nonprofit organizations, now is the ideal time to stop and assess what is working and what isn’t.
Why? Because the new season requires renewed energy and resources.
For some nonprofit leaders, this assessment may lead to the elimination of programs that do not receive designated funding. If a program is not generating revenue and there is no plan in place to establish dedicated support within the next quarter, the best choice for the long-term health and stability of your organization may be to close the leaks in your expense budget right away and shut down some programs. This can be a very difficult and emotional decision when you believe those programs are truly benefitting a small group of people in need, but it’s important to keep in mind that your organization is only one part of a larger tapestry of support in your community. This is one of the reasons I am a huge advocate for collaboration and partnerships. No one organization can meet all the needs of individuals and families in need, and an integrated network of organizations that serve aligned constituencies or interests can leverage their power for the greatest possible impact.
My years of experience have taught me to recognize the signs that pruning must be done. To “prune” is to “cut away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth.” Pruning what is no longer fruitful to your organization and/or community is necessary to ensure a nurturing and fertile organizational structure that supports continual growth.
What do YOU have to prune?
Start by asking…
What are my priorities?
What must be done within the next quarter, six months, or year?
What resources are needed?
How much are those resources going to cost?
Where is the revenue going to come from?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed in your role as a leader, this process of spring cleaning can be especially restorative. I see many organizations start programs without securing the necessary human or financial resources to support it, adding to their own workload and risking staff burn-out. This impulse comes, of course, from the passionate desire to meet the critical needs of the community, but is not sustainable. Like a mother caring for her baby, we must make sure we, as individuals and organizations, are robust and stable so we have the strength and capacity to nurture essential programs and services.
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “My board, my staff, even my community will not understand or support my decision to cut programs and services.” My response to this is, “The numbers don’t lie.” Start gathering the data to show that you are making an informed and critical decision, and then plan your next board and/or staff meetings. Once you remove programs that are draining your resources, you will see your other programs flourish. Staff and client morale will increase and you will find work much more manageable, and even better, you may begin to find renewed joy in your work!
Many of the leaders I work with feel alone in these challenges. It can be hard to find peers and confidants whom you trust with confidential information, as it seems everyone knows each other in your circle. This is what makes Executive Coaching so appealing.
I hired an Executive Coach over a year ago and the truth is that my coaching calls have helped me to focus on my priorities, manage and develop my business, and they have increased my bottom line. I’m hooked on coaching and I most likely will never go without it again. I’m actually thinking now of adding different coaches to my network to help me in other areas of my life. I trust the framework. I respect the framework. And I humbly admit I need the support. I have also seen how regular coaching calls with my clients helps them find clarity, gain confidence, move forward, and achieve their goals.
Enjoy your spring cleaning and if don’t hesitate to ask for support!
In Love & Solidarity,
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