Me, Me, Me! As Oh says in the new kids movie Home, “Hands in the air, like I just do not care!”
I don’t know a leader in any context – church, business, non-profit, or wherever – who wants to be a low performance leader. We have a limited amount of time, influence, and resources, and we want to make them count. We want to be high performance leaders. But how do we get there?
For several years now, I’ve been following the work of the Leap of Reason community. From their website: “The Leap of Reason Initiative is aimed at inspiring and supporting great leaders and funders to build great organizations for greater societal impact. Realizing this mission will require us to influence a mindset change among leaders who play a significant role in the social and public sectors and who are motivated to create meaningful, measurable, and sustainable improvement in the lives of individuals, families, and communities.”
The two books they’ve released, Leap of Reason and Working Hard — And Working Well have both been excellent reads which have led to conversations among different leadership teams I’m a part of at Southview. Like any other organization, we have limited resources, limited time, and limited influence. How can we best utilize what has been entrusted to us? How can we know we’re making a difference? What metrics are we using to determine what’s working and what’s not? How can we make a greater impact? All of these discussions have come out of the Leap conversation.
“High-performance organization” is a moniker most organizations—private, public, or nonprofit—would love to earn. And yet who can say what “high performance” really means for mission-based nonprofits? More important, how do executives, boards, and funders get there from here?!
The Leap Ambassadors Community, a network of nonprofit executives, has spent a year developing clear, actionable answers to those two questions.
Earlier this year, they released The Performance Imperative: A Framework for Social Sector Excellence. I’ll be honest – this is the best thing I’ve seen from them to date. I don’t care if you lead a non-profit, a business, a church, or any other type of organization or team – this is PHENOMENAL and will really help you frame questions that fit your context and help you move toward high performance and better leadership. It’s only 16 pages, but it will be of tremendous benefit to you and the teams you lead.
I’m using this to begin and frame discussions with the leadership teams I work with. In it, they define high performance as “the ability to deliver – over a prolonged period of time – meaningful, measurable, and financially sustainable results for the people or causes the organization is in existence to serve.” Yes. A thousand times, yes.
The seven core concepts – or “pillars” – begin with #1 – “courageous, adaptive executive and board leadership.” As John Maxwell says well, “everything rises or falls on leadership.”
I strongly encourage you to download this, read it, and use it in your team meetings. As a leader, you know that high performance matters. And you know that getting better doesn’t just happen – it takes intentionality. This is a tool that can help you get there. Get your copy for free here.