May the Force be with you

May the Force be with you

With all the buzz about the upcoming Star Wars movie in December, this self-professed Star Wars nerd (no, really, come check out my office sometime) decided that it would be a good idea to use Star Wars examples to explain issues and topics for nonprofits. Consider it a mini-series to get you even more excited about the upcoming film and also hopefully give some insight into important topics that we deal with in our work. Read the first installment, Nonprofit Wisdom According to Yoda.


May the Force by with you

The guiding power for the Star Wars universe is The Force. It is the energy and power that dwells within and without and through everything. The Force is a central theme for the Star Wars saga.  How much an individual trusts and relies on the Force will show how successful that person will be in either serving or trying to master the Force.

In our organizations, The Force is our mission and vision statement. How well we adhere to them reveals how “powerful” or successful we are as an organization. So how do we make sure our organization is in harmony with The Force? Let’s look at a few ways:

  1. When was the last time you really took at a look at your mission statement? Does it still fit who you are as an organization and where you are heading? Are there changes that need to be discussed or made? It is difficult to be in tune with your Force, if you’re not even sure what that is currently.
  2. Have you strayed as an organization from your mission statement? Have you got caught up in doing good things that you have strayed from the path of your true mission? It doesn’t matter how many good things you do, if they don’t fall in line with your mission, then you should look at whether or not your organization should be using resources to do those activities. Remember, there are countless “good” things each and every one of us can do, but the only way we do them successfully is staying in tune with the mission (The Force) and not getting sidetracked on things that are not our focus.
  3. Do you even know what your “Force” is anymore? Maybe your mission statement was thrown together quickly when the organization first began a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Perhaps you, the staff, the organization as a whole needs to find its Force again, so it can save the galaxy (okay, maybe just your community)!
  4. Once you found the Force again, stick to it! A Jedi’s power comes from the Force and so does your organizational effectiveness and outcomes. The closer you follow your mission, the less likely are you to stray to the dark side, ummmm, I mean, be sidetracked and lose your way in good intentions, rather than good, solid outcomes.

Know your Force for your organization. Listen carefully to what is telling you that you need to accomplish and how best to spend your time and resources. When you stop, take a deep breath, examine your purpose and find your Force, then you will be in control and able to fight the good fight! May the Force be with you!

Chad Mager is an Associate at Great Lakes Center for Youth Development. He holds a Masters in Training and Development from Northern Michigan University. You can find him collaborating with our partners in Baraga, Delta, Houghton, Keweenaw, Menominee and Schoolcraft counties, in addition to providing technical assistance to youth serving organizations. He is a self proclaimed Star Wars geek.

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