Is your nonprofit prepared for this year’s challenges?

When I was a collegiate distance runner, the idea of entering a marathon during Christmas break sounded like fun.

However, I would have done better if I’d heeded the key lesson from my days as a Boy Scout – Be Prepared.

Thomas Odom (a cross country and track teammate at Jacksonville State University) and I enthusiastically submitted our entry forms for Atlanta’s Peach Bowl Marathon.

The fact that we had never trained for any distance remotely close to a marathon’s 26.2 miles did not deter us. We were confident we were up to the challenge.

In spite of knowing I would be attempting to complete a tremendous undertaking, I made no adjustments to my regular training schedule. Big mistake!

At the 20 mile mark, with my body screaming that this had to be the dumbest thing I had ever attempted, I collapsed in a painful heap.

It was the predictable result: failure accompanied by extreme pain.

But it was not a total loss.  In the years since, my ill-fated marathon experience never fails to remind me of the necessity of laying the appropriate groundwork for a difficult challenge.

As a nonprofit leader, chances are you know the difficulties you will face in the year ahead. You are fully aware of the obstacles that must be overcome to successfully achieve your mission.

As you look to the next twelve months, avoid the consequences that could come from not being prepared.  If the anticipated demands are beyond your level of expertise or past experience, be willing to admit that reality and plan accordingly.

Take action to ensure you and your organization are ready for what lies ahead in 2012!

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