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Reaching Your Goals In 2013!

Posted December 31, 2012 3:03 PM by Brandon Kline

Before I get started, I want to thank Angie for her post earlier today. It really got me thinking about the importance of starting the year strong, both personally and within your organization. However, while starting the year strong is important, I think we would all agree that keeping the momentum is the most crucial part (and the toughest). So, as we get ready for 2013, what are some things you can do to ensure that the momentum from the New Year is sustained?

First, make sure everyone knows that change, especially in an organization, is not a single event, but a process that takes time. You don’t simply decide to change something about yourself or your organization and then, poof, it’s done. It takes energy, focus, and a plan.

Next, develop a plan with specific goals. Specific goals help you to focus. Let’s say you set a personal goal to “lose weight.” It’s great that you want to lose weight, but as a goal, it’s not specific enough to force you to focus. Instead, try something like, “lose 20 pounds by the end of May.” By making your goals specific, attainable, and time-bound, you create a framework that you can manage to. In addition, it helps you (or your organization) visualize what success will ultimately look like if goals are met.

Once you have a set of goals, make sure someone or something holds you accountable. The first step towards accountability is making sure your goals are well known. If nobody knows what you are trying to accomplish, they can’t possibly hold you accountable. So, write your goals on the wall, post them on your website, or send a letter to all employees. Do whatever it takes to spread the word.

Okay, your goals are set, you’ve got an accountability mechanism, but how do you know if you’re getting any closer to success? That’s why you need to clearly and consistently measure progress against your goals. Tracking your progress not only lets you know if something is going awry, but it can also provide positive reinforcement when you’re doing well, and nothing is more motivating than proven success.

So, now that people know your specific goals, are ready to hold you accountable, and understand what progress looks like, just GET STARTED! Sometimes the hardest part is getting the ball rolling, but whether you’re trying to lose 20 pounds by May, or raise an extra million to support your cause, the only way you will reach your goal is by getting started.  

Cheers to reaching your goals in 2013 and beyond - Happy New Year!


Facilitating Tips: Kick Off 2013 with a Strategy Meeting

Posted December 31, 2012 10:26 AM by Angie Mareino

Ah, the New Year. A time of good intentions, resolutions, revisiting your lifestyle and habits...but how can you harness that same enthusiasm come February? We might not be able to help keep off those pesky 10 lbs. (we'll leave that to Dr. Oz!), but we can offer some words of advice to faciliate a kickoff meeting to discuss launching a better strategy management system in 2013. And why should you care? We have watched organizations with great missions learn the hard way that floundering without a comprehensive yet easy-to-follow and approachable strategy management system is a sure-fire way to chase your proverbial tail when it comes to measuring impact in a mission-driven organization. So hear us out, then chime in with your own tips and best strategies. Here's to a measurablely good 2013!

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Is Someone Accountable? … Anyone? … Anyone?

Posted December 19, 2012 8:22 PM by Mark Cutler

While the term “vlog” traditionally refers to video blogs, I’m referring to this post as my first vlog as shorthand for a “venting blog.”  Today, I had (actually, I’m having because I’m still in the midst of it) one of the more frustrating customer service experiences in recent memory. At 7:59pm I am waiting for a delivery that I was told would arrive between 7:45am and 11:45am this morning.

The question this issue begs is:  Who is accountable?  I called the delivery company at 11:50am when it hadn’t arrived yet and I hadn’t heard from them.  The customer service rep called the driver who said it would be delivered by 3:00pm.  The rep, when she saw my account, told me that they never should have told me 7:45-11:45 and that she was sorry.  Great.

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Predicting End-of-Year Student Performance

Posted December 19, 2012 11:56 AM by Ted Jackson

I Can’t Get No…

How can you institute any level of pay-for-performance if you only track your measures once a year?

Not knowing where you stand at any given moment makes it that much harder to demonstrate your impact. If you’re off track or on track during the year, will you be the last to know? And how do you decide where to focus your attention: pull from a hat?

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Reducing World Poverty Deserves a Serious Strategy

Posted December 5, 2012 4:16 PM by Angie Mareino

When Dr. Jim Kim was appointed as head of the World Bank in the summer of 2012 (only its 12th president in its almost 70-year history), he wanted to refocus the organization to its core mission: Help Reduce World Poverty

But what would that mean to the Latin American and Caribbean Region (LAC), one of the World Bank’s six main regions? In LAC, there certainly are some countries with extreme poverty, like Haiti and Honduras, but there are also many countries that are middle income or better, like Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia.

How would the mission to reduce poverty translate in these counties?

For the Latin America and Caribbean Region, the World Bank first had to agree to add “Increase Prosperity” to their focus. Countries typically do not strive to just be above the poverty line; they want to grow a healthy and productive middle class.


In 2012, the Latin American Region implemented the Balanced Scorecard to visualize its contribution to the overall mission of the World Bank. Not only have they helped to bring millions out of poverty, but they have also used innovative approaches to strengthen governance and improve resilience throughout the region. The use of new financial products along with advisory and convening services have made this region an innovation hub of the World Bank. Advances in areas of procurement reform and conditional cash transfers, among other things, now guides how the World Bank adopts these policies globally.

Getting a room of Ph.D. economists to agree on single measures of development effectiveness is not easy.

The Balanced Scorecard helps to create alignment across the various countries as well as allow for flexibility in defining and achieving development strategies in different regions. What works in the Caribbean may not work in Chile; the BSC framework provides for flexibility. At the same time, the Latin America and Caribbean Region as a whole at the World Bank needs to be able to respond with one voice to present its collective effectiveness. Across the LAC region, the strategy map has become the common language. 


Get the inside scoop on the World Bank’s approach to strategy at the Mission-Driven Management Summit in March 2013. Learn from Pedro Alba, the director of strategy and operations for the World Bank Latin America and Caribbean Region, who will discuss how it all works. As you might expect, getting a room of Ph.D. economists to agree on single measures of development effectiveness is no small task.

Linking activities to impact is also difficult, especially as global financial crises influence the economic development of the region. Yet the Latin American Region has been pushing hard for alignment, and the common language of the Balanced Scorecard has allowed for candid discussions about key challenges in the region. 


Register for the Summit today for unbeatable rates ($200 in savings) and discover how the World Bank has overcome many challenges of implementing the Balanced Scorecard. You will see how you can apply their techniques to your organization, so you too can stay true to your core mission.

Leaders - On The Field and In The Boardroom

Posted December 4, 2012 4:41 PM by Brandon Kline

If you know me, then you know that last night I was watching the Redskins v Giants game. Of course I enjoyed watching the Redskins win, but I also enjoyed the pure entertainment of watching two great quarterbacks battle it out. I can’t imagine the pressure a rookie quarterback encounters when facing a veteran, Super Bowl-winning quarterback. This of course got me thinking about the two other great rookie quarterbacks this season, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. Each of these players has a set of characteristics that makes them and, as a result, their team, successful. Then, like any consultant would do, I thought about how these characteristics could be applied to the leaders of the mission-driven organizations we work with.

Below I’ve highlighted a few of the attributes that make these rookie quarterbacks successful. So, take a minute, think about these characteristics, and hopefully you’ll be able to see how they translate to the leaders in your organization.

Team Comes First Attitude. Have you ever seen a press conference with one of these guys? Reporters always ask questions about them as an individual, but they always seem to steer the answer back to being about the team. A good leader knows that they are only as good as the team that surrounds them and they acknowledge that fact openly.

Always Pushing Themselves. Everyone watches their talent on the field, but it’s when they’re off the field that the talent is nurtured and grows. After a series on the field, they come to the sideline, grab a drink, and sit down with the offensive coordinator to discuss the previous plays. They may be resting their legs, but never their brains. They are always learning, making adjustments, and strategizing about how to execute better next time.

They Have An Unrelenting Desire To Win. Do you think these rookies smile after they get beat? I don’t think so. They want their team to win, and not just once or twice, but always. If you ask them what they want from the season, I’m sure each would tell you that they want to win a championship. They want to be the best. A leader doesn’t settle for mediocrity, they always want to be better than the competition.

Respected. Despite their youth, these rookies garner respect from veterans with 10+ more years of experience. Yes, their talent has a lot to do with this, but it also relates to their discipline, work ethic, and commitment to the team above themselves. Not only do they have the respect of their teammates, but they show respect to them as well. Leaders recognize that respect is a two-way street.

They Make Everyone Around Them Better. This is the characteristic that really amazes me. Somehow, someway, everyone around them seems to play to their fullest potential. When all of the above characteristics come together, this is the result. These guys make everyone want to be better, work harder to get better, and ultimately become better. In my mind, this is what true leadership is all about.

I always find it interesting to compare leaders that operate in different atmospheres and, more often than not, I find that the skills and characteristics of good AND bad leaders are similar regardless of the environment. Hopefully some of these characteristics resonate with you and help you think about the leader you are or would like to be. 

Down. Set. Hike!