There are so many cliches in the air at 25 Broadway -- a veritable motherlode in fact -- that I believe the cliche is too often a substitute for substance. I thought that I would focus on just two of them:
1. "What got us here, won't get us there." Great line, appropriated by JFNA ostensibly from one of the great Jewish mega-philanthropists of our age orany age. When that philanthropist said it, he probably knew where "here" was and the "there" he was trying to reach. (In reality, the phrase is the title of a book written by Marshall Goldsmith.) I remember well when my beloved White Sox fired a rather successful General Manager of the team because "he got us from Point A to Point B, but we didn't think he could get us to Point C." We understood -- "Point A" was the depths and "Point B" was contention and "Point C" was the World Series. For JFNA (and please forgive me for this) we don't know where "here" is and we don't have a clue where "there" is; until you know the "here," you can't know the "there," can you? At 25 Broadway it's "here, there and everywhere." Five "areas of focus" are now three (and that includes "thought leadership"), but the Budget allegedly supports over 50 separate "programs."
So, just show us where is "here" and then begin to demonstrate that you actually have a concept for "there." I challenge our leaders to name five areas of JFNA activity that they believe represent the federations' (not JFNA's) priorities and how JFNA is striving to meet them.
2. We are going to "...deliver greater value and measurable results." OK, good. What does this mean? Usually followed by...
3. "we are going to do more with less." The reality to date: "we are going to do less with less" and we can prove it..and then we will complain that we don't have more...
4. Everything we will do will be "robust" -- "robust dialogue," "robust debate" -- and then it isn't.
Let me add one of my own: Zero-based thinking starts with no preconceived notions or sacred cows.