|What Works |
Each edition of this newsletter contains a section I call "What Works."
Most editions include sections from one of two longer articles I'm writing. Why Organizations Thrive and Why Organizations Go Off Course detail lessons I learned while growing the Oregon League of Conservation Voters (OLCV), buttressed by my observations of dozens of other groups both in Oregon and across the country.
Collectively, I believe these lessons are a very useful set of principles that any Executive Director can use to improve their organization's capacity to fulfill its mission.
This month is Why Organizations Go Off Course Lesson 3: Don't Lose Touch with your Deeper Purpose.
This lesson can best be introduced via a classic story about three bricklayers.
A man was walking down a street and came across someone laying bricks. The first bricklayer was dejected and doing a sloppy job as he laid bricks on top of each other. The man asked the bricklayer: "what are you doing?"
The first bricklayer's answer: "I'm putting bricks in a row and then putting another layer of bricks on top of them."
Further down the street, the man came across a second bricklayer. This bricklayer was workmanlike - doing her job in an apparently competent manner.
The man asked the second bricklayer: "what are you doing?"
The second bricklayer's answer: "I'm building a wall that will form the side of a building."
As the man walked even further down the street, the man came across a third bricklayer. This bricklayer was whistling as they worked, obviously happy, as he methodically put bricks together in rows, mortared them, and slowly built upwards.
The man asked the bricklayer: "what are you doing?"
The third bricklayer's answer: "I'm building the wall of a hospital that will save people's lives."
Is it any wonder that the second bricklayer was more productive than the first, and the third was most productive of all? The first was given a task, but had no purpose. The second had a purpose, but it was shallow. The third had a task, a purpose, and the purpose was framed in a deeper way that could arouse passion.
So how does this apply to nonprofits?
Read the rest of the article.
Download the article as a PDF.