Every now and then, I like to peek in on the Leadership Institute’s Campus Reform blog, and yesterday caught an excellent post by Tony Listi on message development. Listi titled the post “What it Takes to Win Politically on a College Campus,” but don’t be fooled; this is chock full of great information about building an effective organization.
The whole post is worth a read, but the advice for organization builders on defining their mission is particularly on point:
Direct your time, money, energy, political capital, and other resources toward a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective on campus. This principle is the most important because it is the groundwork for everything else. What is your objective on campus? How you define the problem(s) determines your objective(s)…
The following objectives are not clear, decisive, or attainable:
- Raise awareness about ____.
- Educate the student body about ____.
- Prove to everyone we are right.
A frustrating mistake made by many organizations could be avoided by this step of defining a clear objective. (And probably, many would-be organizational entrepreneurs are actually most interested in Bad Mission #3, and feel like they can pull a salary and have fancy business cards.) In the long run, those groups tend to suffer for it. Maybe they could stand to go back to school.