Hawk or ground squirrel?

A parable in taxidermy at Radford University's Selu Retreat Center

“You have to ask yourself….are you the hawk, or are you the ground squirrel?”  The question kicked off the 2010 Virginia Main Street Manager’s Retreat at Radford’s Selu Retreat Center last week. 

Eighteen Main Street program managers from across the commonwealth gathered for a day and a half of focus on mission-based financial management. And while the Main Street world view isn’t quite as severe as this predator-or-prey scenario, an organization’s slightly less rapacious and continual focus on the mission of the organziation can serve it well. 

If  organizational decisions flow from the group’s mission and established goals, the necessary money will come to achieve them.  This means making a plan and prioritizing objectives. It requires the effective communication of the organization’s mission and goals, and it means taking well-planned steps to meet them.

The alternative is doing things the way they’ve always been done.  The alternative is letting the budget and resources drive the mission rather than attracting resources with a solid plan.  The alternative is not leadership, or even effective management. The alternative is ground squirrel.