npo leadership: look back

Think back on 2009 — ups, downs, trends, events — the whole year as you experienced it. If this were January 4, 2009 (yep, 2009), what would you do differently, knowing what you know about the year ahead? Would you be bolder? Would you be more cautious? Would you hire? Would you not hire more people? Would you follow your gut on that big website project? Would you have spoken up in that disastrous meeting?

What about fundraising? What would you do differently? crystal ballMore aggressive? Less aggressive? Better reporting? Would you have actually acted on the reporting you saw?

And for your work: what significant changes would you make to the way you worked within your organization? Would you procrastinate less? Would you fear less? Would you finally have confronted the issues that were making you crazy? Would you have prayed more about your plans? Would you have exercised better discipline?

If you’ve read the Oneicity blog much, you know we’re not philosophers, we’re practitioners. So why all these philosophical questions about 2009 when 2009 is gone and you can’t change anything?

Here’s the deal. You can’t predict what 2010 will be like. Everyone is making predictions but no one knows. In fact, if you go back to early 2009 blogs you’ll see that mostly the only accurate predictions were general in nature, not specific or actionable. But here’s what you can be sure of: if you were to do in 2010 the things you WISH you had done 2009, then 2010 will be a better year. The details will change. The specifics will vary, but generally, if you behave and choose the same way you did last year then this year will be very similar to last year. That’s fine if you want to relive the same kind of year. But if you want to grow and exert more influence, you’ll have to make changes. And rather than just randomly picking things you “wish” you’d done differently, choose carefully based on your past performance and choices.

If you can spot the mistakes you made in 2009 and decide to not make those in 2010 — 2010 will be a better year.

So what about you? What would you do differently in 2009 if you could go back in time (besides all of your “genius” stock picks and real estate deals)? What are you doing today to ensure that 2010 will be better in measurable ways? Or are you so happy with 2009 that you’re trying to repeat the year? As always, I’d love to know what you think.

Oh, and as for me… what would I do differently in 2009? I’d be more bold and courageous. I would put fear aside and move confidently. Many of my 2009 mistakes were based in timidity (shocking, I know). So in 2010, I’m planning and acting boldly. It’s going to be an even better year than before. I’m on tiptoe watching to see all the fun stuff ahead. I’ll keep you posted.

And because it’s Monday, it’s time for a Good Job Monday Shout Out. One of our favorite bloggers and writers is Roy H. Williams who runs the fabulous Wizard Academy, which is a business school unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Most of his writing is oriented for the business, for profit world but you won’t have trouble translating what he has to say into your work. Roy writes a weekly blog that I never miss — he encourages, provokes, inspires and is never, ever boring. We love his work and think you’ll learn something from his Monday Morning Memo. Good Job Roy Williams, we’re huge fans.


Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity


(photo credit: Frogman!)

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

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