“Refiner’s Fire” for 2010

Handel’s masterpiece, Messiah, features a particularly “moving” selection with a “Refiner’s Fire” theme.  As the four vocal parts move in and out against the full orchestra, there’s a feeling of shaking and staccato energy, reminding listeners that refining requires lots of movement, some heat and even passing dissonance. For 2010, with the teasing glimpse of an uncertain economic recovery, there’s no better message to send to your constituents than things are “moving” at your organization.  Refining your vision and modus operandi can only be viewed as positive.  So, to begin the year, consider doing three things: Shake things up. Introduce something new. Or do something differently.  But make sure it’s tied directly to your mission statement so there’s no brand confusion or fears that you’re straying from your purpose.  If you help people, help in a new way.  If you evangelize, launch a program that reaches out differently.  However, make it clear that this is an “add on” to the historical effectiveness of what you’ve always done. Feel the heat. Admit that times are tough.  But emphasize that you’re working harder and smarter than ever to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. Cut something that’s expendable.  “Tweak” something to become more effective.  In this year of recovery, most Americans are still cautious.  Your focus on effectiveness will bond you to your donor’s mindset even more closely. Admit passing dissonance. Tough times demand hard discussions.  Admit your staff has grappled with difficult issues.  But strong teams endure tough times and come out more united.  That’s what you’re experiencing.  Honesty will be honored. Starting strong is the earmark of a winner.  Lead in 2010.