Pete, repeat and me

Pete and Prepeat sat on a fence. Pete fell off and who was left? Repeat.

I don’t know about you but I always found that saying annoyed me more that it inspired me. I got a fresh take on the power of repeat just last week during a gathering of the Consultant Leadership Forum sponsored by CausePlanet and The Denver Foundation. Six times a year we gather to learn from and with each other as we read a selection from CausePlanet’s Page to PracticeTM library. On deck this month was Repeatability: Build Enduring Businesses for a World of Constant Change by Chris Zook and James Allen (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012).

Our discussion revealed that the three key principles outlined in the book are apropos for nonprofits as well as consultants. Zook and Allen’s research revealed that sustainable companies applied three core principles. They have:

  1. A well-differentiated core – clarity of distinction
  2. Clear nonnegotiables – clarity of values
  3. Closed-loop learning – clarity of learning

These principles resonated with me as they speak to the importance of a sustainable nonprofit business model and a successful nonprofit strategy. Where to start? With book in hand, you begin with clarity about what makes your nonprofit unique and what it does well (and what it doesn’t do). You reinforce those via learning from customer and market feedback. Once you set up the learning process you can check-point your core and nonnegotiables to ensure relevance for the future. That’s what Repeat had – and Pete never quite mastered. No wonder Repeat has staying power.

By Karla Raines, Principal, Corona Insights

Read more Radiance blog posts at Corona Insights about nonprofit strategy

CausePlanet members: Register now for our next live author interview with Steve Rothschild on May 29 at 11 a.m. CST.

See also:

Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits

Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World

Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability

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