This is a post about non-profit leadership.  I start my post with this 2 minute video from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.

This video sums up a situation that I have seen in nonprofits all too often.  Leaders see something they want and that is easily attainable.  Yet they are reluctant to pursue it because it might might with someone’s disapproval.  So they are slow to say what they want (notice that in the video only one soldier initially said he would like to do something other than march up and down the square).  I have seen this many times in churches, where the pastor will not move the community forward because a small vocal minority opposes doing so.

Btw, the title of this post is from a famous quote by Gandhi, who certainly understood the need to name what he and his group needed, even if it did not please everyone.


Many organizations create mission, vision and values statements.  But if you want a real indication of the organization’s mission and values, look at the budget.  The budget tells you where the organization is putting its resources and this is a clear, concrete statement of what it values.  For example, many of my clients say they want to reach a broader audience  — but don’t want to pay for professional website.  They often have a volunteer create or manage their site.  Many of the church groups I work with say they want to attract younger people — and then hire a part-time youth minister.  Such actions send a clear message about the organizations priorities and values.

So while I recommend the exercise of creating mission, vision and values statements, I also recommend one more step.  Take those statements and compare them to the organization’s budget.  It will most likely be a very revealing experience.