It was a dark and clear night.
We were ending a Bahamas cruise in a 40-foot motor sailor. The captain sat at the wheel. I stood at the navigation station, desperately searching. My job was to find one flashing every three-seconds green light at the harbor entrance.
The problem? After dark, Ft. Lauderdale’s ablaze with lights. The consequence of failure? Run aground or be run down by a cruise ship.
Ahead hundreds of lights flashed. Car brakes. Street signs. Tankers, like mini-cities, passed, blocking everything else. Behind them, stationary lights, neon signs, exit signs, aviation lights, and stoplights shone bright and disappeared.
In the chaos, a few lights blinked green, none for three seconds.
At last, after 20 minutes of hunting, I found our sweet light. She was tiny but true. With her to guide us, we sailed to our goal.
Can you and others around your nonprofit find the light that is your vision? Despite the turmoil around you, can you steer toward it? Or, are you at risk of running aground or getting run over? (Read more about vision challenges in this post on vision blocks.)
The busier your world and the more ideas bubbling about your future, the more your organization needs a clear, shared vision. Why? So everyone independently and collectively steers toward your light.
Shared visions allow you to focus on the most important priorities every day. Without clarity, even with the best of intentions, everyone sails to different lights. Progress grinds to a halt.
The bigger your team, the broader your reach, the more everyone needs to follow one light.
Test your crew. Can each person explain your organization’s vision? Can they tell you how they used it this week to make one or more decisions about how they invested their time? Can they tell you what needs to happen next to move toward it?
If you don’t hear the clarity, let’s discuss your next steps to creating a shared vision and getting everyone heading toward it.
For more answers, check out this Nonprofit CEO Library.
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Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.
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