Give Me Six Hours


Abraham Lincoln was a President, who overcame adversity to achieve great things and effect change. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which led to abolishing slavery in the U.S., established the National Banking System and the Department of Agriculture, and is the only President of the United States to hold a patent.

How did he accomplish such great things? He spent time sharpening his blade. He had a strategic plan. He didn’t “wing it.”

President Lincoln recognised the importance of strategic planning. Our founding leaders had a vision; Lincoln created a plan to achieve it by saving the Union, realising the vision of our forefathers that all people were created equal.

Leaders and employees of nonprofit organizations are constantly being pulled in different directions to serve multiple constituencies. There aren’t enough hours in the day, week, year to do what is required to effect change, nonetheless to set aside to plan for the future. Planning feels like a luxury when “riding the bicycle while building it” best describes the daily reality of working to fulfill a mission, often with inadequate resources.

As a Harvard Business Review article, Delivering on the Promise of Nonprofits,  (, points out,  “this “scatterization” is as much a function of how the nonprofit sector is organized as it is of how the organizations themselves operate”. Today’s nonprofit organizations are called upon to solve big problems, address the needs of our nation and people, and like Lincoln, create change. Therefore, a well developed strategic plan is the tool necessary to do so and the time spent “sharpening the axe” well spent.

Be like Lincoln. Spend time creating the plan and sharpening the tools that make accomplishing great things possible.

created by Courtenay Bailey, Senior Consultant, Eno River Consulting,

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