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March 22, 2022

Mission Multiplier: Sell a Bold Promise

Hello. Jane Pfeiffer here from Fieldtrip. As a leader, I’m sure you have set more than a few objectives and goals and probably use the SMART goal formula. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound. It’s a pretty common formula for setting goals. My question today is what if you removed “achievable?” What if you set a goal for your mission driven organization that was so big and bold, people might think you’re a little crazy? I’m encouraging you to do that. We worked with a nonprofit in the Pacific Northwest that believed that’s the way to make a difference. They worked really hard to not reduce, but to end child abuse in the entire state. And they had a formula for doing this. But their mission is to end it. Their goal is to put themselves out of business because the problem no longer exists. I think many of us would think, well, that’s impossible. But think about the power
of stating something that bold, especially with a really tough topic like child abuse, because one of the biggest obstacles that this organization faces is that nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody wants to admit that it’s probably a lot closer to home than they think because it’s one of those topics where we feel safer telling ourselves that it doesn’t happen in our neighborhood or in our world, or our sphere of contacts. It just happens somewhere else in another corner of the world where statistics and many other factors prove that it does happen much more commonly and closer than we’d like to admit. So instead of detailing statewide statistics or the obligations of citizens and listing the contributing factors, we work together to really flip the narrative. That’s the statement. You hear me say a lot. But how do we make the topic of child abuse approachable? How do we remove those barriers? And what would it look like if every resident of the state was certified in recognizing the signs of child abuse? It’s not a complicated process, and it’s as simple as being in the grocery store as a parent and recognizing another parent that is really stressed out and offering them just a kind word or giving them just a little bit of space and a friendly conversation to try and break that stress moment. What if a teacher felt confident that he or she could ask the right questions without leading the child or causing more trauma? It’s these little steps that will make a big impact because it’s getting in front of the problem. And in order to get in front of it, we all have to be more comfortable and confident in talking about it. That’s not just the case for organizations working with child abuse. That’s the case for most organizations working in social services and health. How do we destigmatize and make the challenges that we work every day to address more approachable and more likely for a thought provoking conversation? So set bold goals and forget about being achievable. Go for it and prove that your organization can do it by changing one life at a time. Thanks for watching.