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Helping Organizations Thrive 
November 2014 Edition
Welcome to my November 2014 email newsletter. 

The mission of Jonathan Poisner Strategic Consulting is to make the world a better place by helping mission-driven organizations thrive.  I do that by assisting my clients with strategic planning, campaign planning, coalition building, fundraising, communications, and other organizational development challenges.

To keep people informed about my work, I set up this monthly (mostly) e-newsletter.  If you want to unsubscribe, just look for the link at the bottom.   My most recent edition can be read in my archive.

For a complete lists of the consulting services I offer, check out my website.
What Works

Most editions of this newsletter contain a section I call "What Works." 

Sometimes, this includes a book review.  Here's a quick link to all my past reviews.

This fall, I read a couple of books on strategy/planning, but they both fell flat.  As I looked back at all my reading over the last few years, I realized none has influenced my thinking about planning a s much as a monograph I first reviewed in 2010.

So here are some updated thoughs on Good to Great and the Social Sectors, by Jim Collins.


As a monograph, it's really short:  28 pages meant as a suppement to his well-known book

Good to Great.  Having only read the related book months after the monograph, I can vouch for the fact that the monograph stands as valuable on its own.  


The monograph identifies five essential lessons that nonprofit leaders should take into account when working to turn their moderately successful nonprofit into a great one.

  • Define greatness.  Be clear about what impact you hope to have, not just what activiies you hope to undertake.
  • Use a "level 5" leadership style that combines personal humility, professional will, and ambition for the cause.  It's not about charisma.
  • Focus a lot of attention on "who" should be on the team (attracting the right talent and jettisoning poor performers).
  • Identify a single, great "hedgehog" concept that finds the sweet spot that simultaneously matches your passion, what you can be the best at, and your "resources engine." 
  • Use strategies to "turn the flywheel," reinforcing the resource engine and brand so that you are continually drawing in more resouces with less work. 

Read the rest of the review.  


Download the review as a PDF  

Recent Success Stories and New Clients

It's been a very busy fall; so busy I neglected to produce September or October e-newsletters.

I am in the midst of a 3 month engagement with America Walks to provide strategic project management and advice for an upgraded website.  


I have wrapped up the Retreat Phase of a strategic planning process for Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon.   Based on retreat decisions and the research conducted, we're now in the midst of turning the decisions into a final written plan. 

I am conducting interviews with a wide variety of external stakeholders, board members, staff, consultants, and allies as part of the Research Phase of a strategic planning process for the Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council.

I'm also in the Research Phase advising Better Eugene-Springfield Transit (BEST).on a strategic planning process. 

In October, I facilitated a planning retreat for the Association of Oregon Recyclers. 

I have been working this fall to develop a community engagement plan for BARK, which advocates for protection of Mt. Hood National Forest.  The new plan should be ready for implementation in January.

I recently wrapped up a two month project working with Recode on fundraising and organizational planning and training.  

Earlier this month, I led a workshop entitled Strategic Planning for the Real World at the annual conference of the Nonprofit Network of Southwest Washington. 

Lastly, Mary Fifield of Kaleidescope Consulting and I are in the early stages of a 6 month joint project providing development and communications consulting and planning for the YWCA of Portland.

Check out my website for a complete list of all my clients.
Recent Blog Entries

Note: I am actively looking for Guest Blog submissions.  If you have some thoughts to share on any aspect of organizational development, shoot me an email and we can discuss length, timing, etc.

A Goal is not an Activity

To Follow your Dreams, Learn to Say No

The Science behind Storytelling

Why you Lead Matters

A Blog about a Frog on a Log - Updated

Should your Nonprofit Get a Drone?

Why Don't Groups Do Strategic Planning

Guest Blog: Grant Writing as a Team-Building Exercise

Connecting Fiscal Management to Strategy

Learning to Let Things Go Wrong

Ideas for Donor Involvement

Looking for one of my past blog entries on a particular topic?   I have now categorized my past blog entries.  Just go to my website and hover over the "blog" link on the navigation bar and you can see the topics and choose from among them. 
Contact Information
Jonathan Poisner Strategic Consulting
phone: 503-490-1234

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