Posts in Strategies
How to Respond to Challenges

Have you ever thought that you just need more time for a project? That you need more money, more support, more space or more staff to complete the work appropriately? These are typical constraints that are ever present in work environments. It is typical for every part of life that we have constraints, and it is no different in business or for social organizations.

I would like to argue that our constraints are actually what lead to creativity.

“When we face an obstacle or a barrier or limitation, we don’t see that as a negative, we see that as fertile ground for creativity so that we are forced to think creatively to solve a problem.” – Roger Berrington, Volunteer Executive Director of CanU

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Use What You Already Have

How skilled do you think you are at your job? How skilled are you at your hobbies? Is your skill level between your work activities and your hobbies connected?

I believe if you find ways to connect the different skills you have, you will be more effective in all areas. In looking at different aspects of your skills, you can find useful perspectives that you already use, but in different areas of your life.

Typically, only soft skills are described as transferable skills. Abilities like public speaking, leadership, time management, and interpersonal skills. I allow the definition to be quite a bit wider than that. I include understanding different organizational systems, competence with specific technical software, and understanding design principles as transferable skills, as well as most other technical skills.

With each new skill that is added to your toolkit, you get a new mindset that can be drawn on. Whenever you are actively using a skill, you may notice that you start to see what you do in a different way. You shift into a different mindset to better use your skill.

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Transferable Skills

How skilled do you think you are at your job? How skilled are you at your hobbies? Is your skill level between your work activities and your hobbies connected?

I believe if you find ways to connect the different skills you have, you will be more effective in all areas. In looking at different aspects of your skills, you can find useful perspectives that you already use, but in different areas of your life.

Typically, only soft skills are described as transferable skills. Abilities like public speaking, leadership, time management, and interpersonal skills. I allow the definition to be quite a bit wider than that. I include understanding different organizational systems, competence with specific technical software, and understanding design principles as transferable skills, as well as most other technical skills.

With each new skill that is added to your toolkit, you get a new mindset that can be drawn on. Whenever you are actively using a skill, you may notice that you start to see what you do in a different way. You shift into a different mindset to better use your skill.

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Who Do You Compete With?

Most nonprofits don’t see themselves as competing with other organizations. In the traditional sense, they don’t. Most nonprofits don’t compete to sell a product or service.

Looking at competition in a different light, nonprofits definitely compete in a variety of ways with other organizations. They compete with other nonprofits and charities for donations, they compete with all forms of entertainment for the time of their volunteers. They also compete with significant industry lobbyists for the ear of politicians.

There are many ways in which nonprofits need to compete.

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Urgency and Importance

There are a lot of tasks that get done in a typical day. If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a never-ending list of tasks and chores that should get done.  How do you decide what has to happen first and what has to wait?

I can’t remember where I first heard about the distinction between urgent and important. It seems like it is possibly one of the most significant tools for social entrepreneurs or nonprofit organizers. It is also known as the Eisenhower principle.

The Eisenhower principle is used to decide whether a given task is important, urgent, both or neither, and then to prioritize your time toward the important tasks.

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How to Set Goals

How do you set goals?

Many people set goals that are meaningless and have no grounding in reality. You can do better than that.

I see goals as being separated into two categories. First there are high level goals. Things like “engage the community” or “increase sales.”  Next there are specific goals, which I call objectives. Objectives are things like “increase average webpage visit by 10 seconds in 3 months.”

Goals are only useful if they lead to good objectives. If you stop at goals, they are meaningless.

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How to write an elevator pitch

The ideal elevator pitch takes less than 10 seconds to repeat, and is used to intrigue whoever you’re talking with. The elevator pitch is not to sell a product or service, but to introduce yourself and your organization. If you have a good elevator pitch, the people who you speak to will either be interested and ask for more information, or they will know that they aren’t interested in what you have to offer.

 

When establishing an elevator pitch for yourself or your organization, start with a couple paragraphs describing the brand of your organization. When writing out these paragraphs, try to answer the following questions:

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