Earn a reputation for achieving results and, more often than not, your organization will face a flow — perhaps even a flood — of requests to expand. Responding eagerly to as many as possible is a natural reaction, not only because it seems like the right thing to do, but also because saying “no” can be so very hard. But, altruism aside, saying “yes” to any and all comers has its problems. It effectively puts others in the driver’s seat when it comes to your strategic direction and priorities. Consider the experience of MY TURN, Inc. Over its first 20 years, MY TURN had grown to be a leading provider of vocational and educational services to youth in southeastern Massachusetts, largely by responding to requests from neighboring communities. With documented proof that the MY TURN model worked and multiple national awards for excellence in serving youth, its management and board were ready to accelerate growth and expand regionally. But faced with more opportunities than MY TURN possibly could take on, they wanted to understand which to seize and which to let pass by.
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