One of the greatest challenges faced by many of today’s organizations is balancing preserving their history (and historic reason(s) for existence), while maintaining a significant enough amount of relevance, so that they continue to evolve in a well-considered, powerful, and important way!
After more than three decades of identifying, qualifying, training, developing and consulting to well over a thousand individuals in either actual or potential positions of leadership, in hundreds of different organizations, I have come to realize that nearly every group, at some point, faces the challenge of attracting and/ or maintaining support, so their organization can remain relevant, and sustainable.
Those groups that focus on needs, concerns, effectively listening, and maintaining their relevance, without selling out in terms of their principles, rationale, or mission, generally become the most successful and sustainable, while those groups that fail to do so, often dwindle and become weaker and far less essential and/ or significant. With that in mind, here are 5 ways an organization might be able to better attract and maintain support.
1. Know, understand, and stick to your mission/purpose
One of the Deadly Sins of organizations, is to view things in a myopic manner (short-term only), trying to put a band-aid on a hemorrhage! When they do this, they often make ill-fated decisions, because once any group abandons their reason for being, others question why they need to either get more involved/ active, or even continue to belong! Those groups that keep their focus while addressing urgent needs and concerns, proceed in the best, most sustainable way.
2. Clearly show how you’re different/better
Organizations must be able to differentiate themselves, in the most positive way, in the minds and perceptions of potential supporters. When one focuses on the best way to get it done, and pursues excellence, he improves his group, and accentuates quality and meaning/ relevance.
3. Clearly articulate/motivate
Only when someone is willing to transparently, and affectively, explain his perspective, action plans, rationale, and how it will make a difference/ improvement, does he become a motivating leader. When any group is led by someone who is capable of motivating others, the group becomes more relevant in the eyes of potential supporters!
4. Create the need/demonstrate value
A leader who prioritizes maintaining his basic values in sync with demonstrating both actual, as well as perceived value, he becomes a needs-orientated leader, and when stakeholders believe someone in leadership cares deeply about their needs, concerns and priorities, they become more willing to pay closer attention.
5. Ask others to help/join/do more!
Just as a salesperson must close a sale, a leader must always end with a call to action, and urge others to join in with him, to unite for the common good, and best serve a specific mission or purpose.
No organization will continue to exist without attracting and maintaining support. No one acts as a genuine leader unless his focus is on serving with excellence, preparation, and, in a needs-oriented, sustainable and relevant way!
Photo Cred: CTBTO.org