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Lessons Learned From Renovating Our Kitchen

A few years ago, NMS co-founder Lori Lee Davidson renovated a 1927 home and learned some lessons in the process.

When we found our home we knew we’d found a winner. We had been looking for over a year for that perfect renovation project – not too much, not too little, in the right area of town with the right amount of charm. We wanted a home we could turn around within 2-3 months and move in with our little family. Before we even made an offer we had electricians, plumbers, HVAC companies, painters, remodelers and renovation experts take a look and give us their “no holding back opinion.” After closing, even with all our pre-planning, we found ourselves inheriting a mess of things we weren’t all together expecting.

Has that ever happened to you at your organization?  You and your board planned, anticipated, and prepared as strategically as possible….and yet. Let’s take my kitchen for example.

This is the before:

DSC_0758 DSC_0757

Isn’t it nice? Especially for a renovation project! This was a our “one room” that didn’t need any (much) work. Perhaps a paint job, some new curtains and an upgrade of the oven at one point. But it was certainly not something we needed to pay attention to right away.

This is a picture of my kitchen last week:

10995616_692791704177219_8223912869470605817_n 11091186_692791800843876_676475988184657296_nWhat happened? Well, on closer examination those really nice counter tops? They sure look great but they aren’t attached the cupboards – not even a little attached. Apparently they were spare countertops. That floor that looks like tile? It’s plastic that has been glued on to the hardwood floor. The appliances? There was a leak that created the cupboards to mold.

Has your organization ever LOOKED like it was doing well on the surface? Perhaps even to your board? But when you start digging in your financials or your infrastructure you realize it’s been barely hanging on – livable but not optimal. Sometimes we have to tear our organizations down to the studs and rethink how we are going to rebuild. Some questions to ask yourself if you think you may be “looking pretty:”

  • Can we clearly articulate and communicate our vision and mission?
  • Are we in alignment with our mission?
  • Do we engage and seek input from those using our services or the community we impact?
  • Are we tracking our impact and setting goals?
  • Do we have an active and up-to-date governance?
  • Have we secured resources appropriate to our needs?
  • Do we have a plan in place for the future?

Happy renovation, y’all!

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