|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's lesson is: Don't let the urgent become the enemy of the important.
Organizations that develop a culture of focusing on the urgent often wind up failing to tackle important tasks.
This language is taken directly from Stephen Covey's book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Covey's Third Habit is to "Put First Things First." In explaining that in terms of time management, he divides the world into four quadrants based on two continuums. One continuum is whether an activity is important or unimportant. The second continuum is whether the activity is urgent or not urgent, with urgency about its time-sensitivity, not its importance.
Covey's central point: most people are good at focusing on those things that are both urgent and important. But, what sets apart highly functioning people is they are also good at focusing on those things that are important, but not urgent. In contrast, less effective people get caught up in urgent, but unimportant tasks.
How does this apply to nonprofit organizations instead of people?
Read the rest of the article.
Download the article as a PDF.