Saturday, February 28

The Dalai Lama is Right About Happiness

"A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering."                                                                                                                                                 -Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness
The Dalai Lama explains that the happiest people are those who are the most disciplined.  I believe the same is true for organizations: those that are the most disciplined are the most successful. This past weekend, I had the honor of helping the governing board of the American Nephrology Nurses’ Association ("ANNA") conduct a "refresh" of the strategic plan I helped them create two years ago ( At that time, I asked them what success would look like, and their reply was that they wanted their entire strategic plan to fit on a single page so that it was useful to them as a real decision-making tool and easy to communicate to others.  If you clicked the link, you saw what we created—a one pager that included everything they would need.  They acknowledged that they would need a work plan for volunteer and staff leaders to follow in their pursuit of the very ambitious outcomes they wanted their plan to achieve.  They did, in fact, create a work plan that they used and updated as needed.  
One of the reasons that the ANNA board was so successful in maintaining a constructive board culture and achieving its goals is that they had the discipline to say, “No,” to tempting ideas or member requests that would take their attention and resources away from the direction they had agreed to pursue.   Some of the ANNA board members reported how it was initially difficult to say no, but that it got easier as they followed their agreed-upon path. 
Now, with two years of their plan under their belts and a few changes in board membership, they rightfully felt it was time for a tune-up on both their plan and on the behaviors that distinguish high performing boards.  They were just as disciplined during our session as they are at other times, yet everyone reported having a good time as well as leaving with a real sense of accomplishment.  As you can see from the photos, it wasn’t all work.  And for me, there is nothing more gratifying than helping a group of caring leaders stretch themselves to chart a course and agree on how they will work together to assure their organization thrives. Revisit the ANNA’s website in a few months to view the strategic planning document they created this past weekend to take them through 2017. And it’s still only one intensely packed page!

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