Category Archives: Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning

How Group Attention Deficit Disorder Can Undermine Strategic Planning…

“Oh Allah! I seek Your guidance by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power; I have none. And You know; I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things.

Oh Allah! If in Your knowledge, (this matter*) is good for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs, immediate and in the future, then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge, (this matter*) is bad for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs, immediate and in the future, then turn it away from me, and turn me away from it. And ordain for me the good wherever it may be and make me content with it.– A Du’a (supplication) of the Prophet Muhammed (S).

[adapted from Genesis of New American Leadership: Building the Community Life]

“Don’t waste time setting priorities.”
—Herman Minor IV, The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People

A man exits his home to cut his lawn. He removes the mower, starts it and gets about hall way down one side when he notices some loose caulking at the front window. He stops the mower, goes into the garage and exits the home again to fix the window; as he’s applying the caulking, he notices loose screws in the gutter, and figures he can return to the caulking after he gets the screws tightened.

He goes back in the garage and pulls out a ladder and a screwdriver. He positions the ladder, starts to climb and while he’s fixing the gutter, he notices a few shingles loose atop the roof. He stops fixing the gutter and directs his attention to the roof, when he notices his neighbor’s roof also has a few shingles loose.

He has a mind to go over and volunteer to help his neighbor, but suddenly it starts to rain. He quickly descends, grabs all of his equipment and runs in the garage. He will take care of it another day. A few minutes later his wife arrives and says, “Honey, I thought you said you were going to cut the lawn while I was shopping.”

The man above has excellent intentions and the right tools; he is expending energy on problems, but is he accomplishing goals?

He has competing demands, limited time and financial resources and always operating under external constraints over which he often has little or no direct control. Now replace the man with your institution and the above homeowner functions with the internal and external functions of your institution.

Among a cemetery, an institutional newsletter, elder services outreach and interfaith conferences, which goal takes precedence? Moreover, on a day to day or week to week basis, what tasks should be accomplished to tactically sustain and strategically advance your institution?

The answers are found by asking more specific, organizational-dependent questions such as: What are the missions of your institution and what are its goals? For a mosque, with certainty the answers to these questions will be the same and yet different for every Islamic institution not only in America, but throughout the world.

A mosque in Kosovo or on the West Bank of the Gaza Strip will have different needs and face different circumstances and challenges than a mosque in Dakar, Senegal; Staten Island, New York; or Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The discrete organizational tasks, objectives and corresponding implementation vary with the nature (basic missions), complexity and resources of the organization, and this fact is true of all organizations, whether the entity is a masjid, church, synagogue, temple, school, hospital, business, military base, local or state municipality or a country. The decisions for the allocation of resources and prioritization of group efforts are complex.

If methods for managing the complexity are not implemented, the organization will suffer from group attention deficit disorder–easily derailed by the immediacy of temporary circumstances or newly identified wants, rather than remaining focused on appropriate goals and a comprehensive strategic vision.

Tip: Respect the group intellect. Begin allocating resources from the inside out…that is charity begins at home. Don’t continually overlook the needs of those already inside the institution while expending inordinate resources to attract those outside the institution.

Left open for further thought and research…Peace until next time.

Sincerely & respectfully,

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Financial Literacy Month: A Golden Opportunity for Families & Communities

”Who prohibited the nice things G-d has created for His creatures,
and the good provisions? Say, Such provisions are to be enjoyed in this life by those who believe. Moreover, the good provisions will be exclusively theirs on the Day of Resurrection. We thus explain the revelations for people who know.”
–Al Quran 7:32

“O my Lord, I seek refuge from being overpowered by debt… protect and deliver me from poverty and let me enjoy my hearing, my sight and my strength in Your way.“
–Muhammed The Prophet (S)

G-d intends for us all to have life and have it better and better all the time…”
–Imam W. Deen Mohammed (ra)

President Obama has proclaimed April as National Financial Literacy Month and is calling on all Americans to recommit to teaching ourselves and our children the basics of financial education.

This month presents an excellent opportunity for both families and community organizations to do a self assessment and critically examine how resources are being generated and managed. Financial literacy is a leg up to economic prosperity and protection against fraud and predatory banking practices.

All institutions including the family have been squeezed financially not only because of the financial debacle that brought on the worst recession since the Great Depression, but also because of income inequality and other social economic ills affecting communities, especially minority communities. Of particular concern is the targeting of ethnic minorities by unscrupulous corporations. One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family is through education and superior personal financial conduct like Maintaining excellent credit.

Nonprofits in particular must be sensitive to the general financial circumstances of those they expect to support their institutions. Help your supporters help you.

Now’s a good time for our organizations to help themselves by helping increase the net worth of their individual supporters. Encourage personal financial education through workshops, seminars, contests and on-site counseling services to enhance your community’s financial preparedness.

Some of my recommended titles for this month are:

Debt Free for Life
80 Proven Ways to Become a Millionaire, All you need is two or three!
Smart Women Finish Rich
Emotional Currency: A Woman’s Guide to Building a Healthy Relationship with Money
The Kids Guide to Money Cent$
Lemonade in Winter
Money & The Law of Attraction
The 4-hr Workweek
Your money or your life
Retirement Revolution: The New Reality (DVD)
Save Your Retirement: What to Do If You Haven’t Saved Enough
The Wealth Choice: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires

The 7 most important takeaways for financial literacy this month?

— Identify bad and good habits
— Start making changes today
— Practice delayed gratification…we don’t always have to have “it” now.
— Be a savvy consumer and investor…educate yourself and your family.
— Invest now in your future by realizing that not all of your money earned today is to be spent today…some of it’s for tomorrow when you will have less or zero earned income.
— Make a commitment to live debt free.
— And finally, pass on the knowledge, good habits, and perhaps some measure of family wealth to the next generation and help end any cycle of generational poverty.

Left open for further thought and research…Peace until next time.

Sincerely & respectfully,

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