Monday, September 19, 2011

The Critical First Step of Income and Other Planning: Destination

Our last entry talked about the definition of good planning. This one continues along similar lines and explores the first step of all good planning: Knowing Where You Want to Go.

Most nonprofits know where they want to go. Like New Englanders in January, everyone agrees, they want to go south for February vacation. Likewise, your nonprofit may agree that your “south” is to improve the quality of the bay water, the readiness of children for kindergarten or the lives of people with developmental disabilities. While you may know the direction, good planning demands that you stop and clarify what exactly constitutes your destination. After all, Miami, Tucson and the Caribbean are south as are Brasilia, South Africa and Newark.

What, for example, does it mean to help people with developmental disabilities to live better lives? To do good planning it matters if you’re talking about housing, employment, family relations or health matters. Each destination requires a different plan.

Knowing your destination allows you to draw a straight line to it from where you are. Good plans reduce expensive meandering. Clear destinations also create vision energy at the start of planning. (Won’t it be exciting to see this in action?”) This energy is needed as fuel for the deep-thinking work ahead.

How has clarifying your destination helped your planning process? How has lack of clarity created confusion?

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