Daily Buzz: Lead Pragmatically When Goals Are Vague

An unclear business strategy can spell disaster for your organization. Leaders should develop a pragmatic approach that allows team members to be productive through ambiguity. Also: Give stakeholders a volunteer management report.

Without a clear business strategy or goals to work toward, making key association decisions can be challenging. “We frequently find ourselves managing in situations of strategic ambiguity—when it isn’t clear where you’re going or how you’ll get there,” says Lisa Lai in a post on Harvard Business Review. “The best managers find ways to provide steady, realistic direction and to lead with excellence, even when the strategy isn’t clear.”

To keep productivity high amid vague situations, Lai recommends taking a pragmatic approach to work. “First, focus on what you can control,” she says. “You owe it to the organization and to your team to deliver value every day … Once you’ve focused your team on delivering value and started to explore what’s possible, you’re prepared to move forward with a discrete set of priorities.”

From there, leaders must work to create emotional steadiness in an otherwise unsteady environment. They achieve this through acknowledging the team’s emotions and keeping communication open.

When leaders feel lost—a common feeling when dealing with a vague organizational structure—Lai suggests engaging other managers about their approaches. What have they done that you can adapt for your organization?

“The ability to thrive during periods of strategic uncertainty separates the great managers who go on to become exceptional leaders from the rest,” Lai says. “Even in the most challenging and ambiguous of situations, you put yourself in a position to succeed when you commit to taking pragmatic action while demonstrating emotional steadiness and drawing on the expertise of others.”

Share Volunteer Impact with a Management Report

Volunteers are often a vital component to achieving a nonprofit’s goals—but reflecting that impact to stakeholders is another story. The Wild Apricot blog suggests creating a volunteer management report to accurately reflect the role of your volunteers.

“This report is very similar to an organizational annual report. It’s a summary of information about what your volunteers accomplished within a given fiscal year for your organization,” says Elisa Kosarin in a post. “Consider this report your special platform for bragging about your volunteers’ accomplishments. It’s an opportunity to share multiple perspectives on the value of your program—perspectives that will impress your stakeholders and help you advocate for higher budgets, more staff, and greater influence.”

Other Links of Note

Bad mental health bleeds into business. Entrepreneur suggests strategies to boost your health both professionally and personally.

Instagram can be a successful business tool—if you use it right. The Hootsuite blog offers a practical guide on how businesses can leverage the platform.

Grow your membership through winback marketing strategies, says the Membership Marketing Blog.

(aga7ta/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!