October 26, 2015

Do You Seek Results? Embrace the Whole Process

Picture of a statue of a child's foot and hand decorative We’re good at outcomes. We know what we want. It’s just that we want the result, the enchilada stuffing, but not the whole enchilada. What am I talking about? Our tendency to want the results, without the work.

Consider these three examples involving income growth:

Your organization wants to increase revenue. You’re unsure how, the time it will take, the effort required, or what you’ll need to invest. You’re uncertain about all these things. Yet you’re sure you want to increase your income soon.

Similarly, a nonprofit seeks bequests. They lack a donor database and experience asking for donations. They have only a brief history. Potential donors will be concerned if the organization will even exist by the time they die. Yet the nonprofit wants bequests now.

Or consider an organization where everyone’s pumped about hiring a development director to grow donated income. Yet when the new hire asks for help to connect with donors, the same people avoid these tasks. They want more donated income. The activities that will get them the income? Not so much.

Unfortunately, wanting a result doesn’t automatically generate the same desire for the work to create them. Sometimes we don’t even recognize that the work exists. Others, we pretend it doesn’t.

To accomplish your strategy, recognize that your wants will always be clearer than the process you need to achieve them. For your wants, eat the whole enchilada. Decide to do whatever it will take. Then, do it. Embrace the whole process or the whole enchilada. When you do, you’ll reap the results you seek.


Karen Eber Davis

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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