Peter Drucker, from Managing the Nonprofit Organization:
All the people I’ve known who have grown review once or twice a year what they have actually done, which part of that work makes sense, and what they should concentrate on.
I’ve been in consulting for almost fifty years now and I’ve learned to sit down with myself for two weeks in August and review my work over the past year. First, where have I made an impact? Where do my clients need me–not just want me but need me? Then, where have I been wasting their time and mine? Where should I concentrate next year so as not only to give my best but also to get the most out of it?
I’m not saying that I always follow my own plan. Very often something comes in over the transom and I forget all my good intentions. But so far as I have become a better and more effective consultant and have gotten more and more personally out of consulting, it’s been because of this practice of focusing on where I can really make a difference.
Only by focusing effort in a thoughtful and organized way can a non-profit executive move to the big step in self-development: how to move beyond simply aligning his or her vision with that of the organization to making that personal vision productive.
Executives who make a really special contribution enable the organization to see itself as having a bigger mission than the one it has inherited. To expand both the organization and the people within it in this way, the top executive must ask the key questions of himself — the questions I ask myself each August. Indeed, each member of the staff must do it, and each volunteer. And the senior people must sit down regularly with each other and consider the questions together.