Monday, March 1, 2010

Toyota R Us

Recently, I had lunch with a local nonprofit leader. Earlier this year, her organization faced a crisis when one of their former employees was arrested. We compared that event and similar challenges at nonprofits to the recent Toyota recalls. Like Toyota, we must gather large public respect to advance our work. Like Toyota, we build our future on trust. Like Toyota, errors, lapses and missteps, violate that trust and can rock our foundation. Like Toyota, we need to respond to crisis (a time when a difficult decision must be made.)

Toyota Not R Us. We do not have to follow Toyota’s missteps. Nonprofits with a solid mission, vision and a clear understanding of their strategies —have the tools they need to respond to recalls, arrests and other crisis. These tools can answer questions like: how can we continue to best serve our customers in light of this incident? What does the public need to know? How do we avoid such events in the future? How can we communicate our plans to do so?

Mission, vision and clear strategy thinking are not only for blue-sky days. They are musts for days when our organizations are rocked by storms. These thinking tools help us to understand the actions we must take to weather the storms that are part of life. For a list of strategic questions to ask your board see

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