Strategic Fail: Why Nonprofit Strategic Planning Fails, and How to Fix It 1st Edition
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About the Author
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This is not one of those books. It’s actually well-written, carefully referenced and often, painfully funny. Its premise, that nonprofit organizations are businesses and need to have a strategic direction, competent and engaged leadership, and robust yet flexible strategies to compete should be painfully obvious, but isn’t. Hence the need for this book.
(Full disclosure: I’ve known the author for much of the past twenty years and worked closely with him for at least a decade. I’m one of the people he mentions in his dedication. I’ve been his customer as well as his colleague. And i count him as a very dear friend. So what business do I have reviewing this book? Because it’s damned good and it’s damned important.)
Nonprofits are at a critical juncture in their evolution as pillars of the American social and political experiment. There have never been so many of them, and never have so many of them been so useless as pillars. Most of them don’t even make good floor tiles much less pillars. This book lays bare the reasons: a mindset of scarcity, a focus on overhead rather capacity, a tendency to process over innovation and the delusional notion that the cosmos will come crashing down if they cease to exist.
Jinks doesn’t just lay out the failure of the nonprofit sector, he presents real solutions for leaders who want to transform their organization in order to transform the world.
You won’t get comforting lists of stuff you’re already doing. You will, if you’re honest with yourself, get more than a little uncomfortable. If you’re willing to really invest in yourself as a nonprofit leader, you should read this book. If you really want to get your organization in shape to change the world, then you should follow its prescriptions. If not, then that book on why should have showered before you left for the airport will probably fit nicely in your carry-on.
To be quite candid, I was skeptical about the book's premise when I first received my copy as well. I thought, "Oh, great. Another self-help book about leadership." And the honest truth? It IS another self-help book about leadership, but it's as though the author is peering into a room full of self-help authors who are exceptionally familiar with the contents of the room but otherwise unaware of the world OUTSIDE the room and it is through this realization that he can present us with HIS perspective, which I can assure you is vastly different than you might expect.
It is a bite-sized chunk of what his coaching enterprise truly offers and I personally have kept it around as a sort of field guide for non-profit leadership. It is succinctly written and organized so effectively that each page seems like something you should have posted on your refrigerator as a daily reminder! I work in the social sector with a nationwide adoption and foster care organization and let me tell you, leadership like THIS is what's going to propel our industry forward. It is time to flip the non-profit sector upside down, unscrew the hinges and panels, take out the inner components, examine and dissect the root problems, and put it back together having gained a NEW perspective on how it truly works. This book does exactly that.
I highly recommend to anyone looking to improve their standard of leadership in ANY facet. It is not just limited to non-profit leaders or even C-level management. An excellent read and an excellent message. Do yourself a favor and buy this book!
Strategic Fail is accessible, to-the-point and written with an authentic humor that I found refreshing and the concepts can be readily implemented (also refreshing).