An Anchor or a Paddle?

April 26, 2020

An anchor helps you get still.
A paddle helps you get moving.


What’s Your Anchor?

As a leader in the nonprofit sector, you’re likely driven by a value system – a set of ideals that influence your perspective and actions, shaped by the wisdom of your own experience.

Values anchor us – and our organizations – in times of chaos.

Do you value justice over forgiveness? Faith over kindness? Gratitude over generosity?

Exploring our values can help us better understand ourselves and each other – our motivations, intentions and experiences.

Interested? You’ll find a fun and interactive personal values assessment at this link. It’s free with immediate results.

The Barrett Values Center offers another assessment, a little more complex with an emailed report – free and well worth the time. You can find the assessment at this link.

Consider doing these along with your staff and board of directors. Use it as a tool for connecting and understanding each other a little better. (I have no affiliation with either site or their hosts. Simply found them helpful resources on my own journey)

The  organization you serve may also have a set of core values. Take a look at them now. This is the moment to see if they hold up, to learn which values shine brightest and which ones need a little encouragement.

Let your values be an anchor  – while making decisions, answering questions, planning for the future and communicating with others.

How’s Your Paddle?

A paddle is a tool you use to move – to steer in a direction toward a destination.

Prior to this crisis, you were engaged in creative discussions on how to be better for your clients, students, patrons and stakeholders. You were collaborating, adjusting and predicting what it would take to do more for the communities you serve.

You were heading in the right direction.

Go back to those action plans, the bright ideas saved on post-it notes, the goals that emerged from deep dive discussions, the a-ha moments that were fueling your passion at the beginning of the year.

Give yourself an hour, hop into a DeLorean Time Machine, and go back to the day before you heard of COVID-19. What shape was your paddle in?

Take a Peak At Your Organization’s … 

  • Vision Statement, Mission Statement and Values
  • Strategic Plan / Annual Plan
  • Minutes from the last two (pre-pandemic) board meetings, committee meetings, staff meetings
  • Board Slate of Officers and/or recruitment plan for new board members
  • Annual performance reviews and goals
  • Professional development needs
  • Technology assessment
  • Budget
  • Fundraising plans, timelines
  • Communications plans (Print, Social Media, New Campaigns)
  • Financial policies, operational reserves

As you review the plans that were guiding you before this crisis, how do they look?

Trust where you were going.
Take note of how you’re getting there now.
What’s changed and (just as important), what hasn’t?

Talk with your staff, board, investors and colleagues. Have tough conversations, seek clarity, and together – paddle with purpose.

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