Zen Pond

We help organizations that make a difference in the world:

  • Develop more effective strategies to deliver on and support their missions
  • Better understand and engage those they serve
  • And create great places to work

We specialize in strategic planning, strategic marketing, and leadership.

Because these subjects were designed to increase corporate profits, we redesigned them for world-changing organizations.

We offer eight free guides on these subjects at the bottom of this page and provide consulting and training on them to our clients.

Our clients include local-to-global companies, nonprofits, governmental institutions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the US and abroad.

Strategy

Effective strategies are key to any organization’s success. They are usually devised or improved during strategic planning. Unfortunately, most planning models were designed for profit-driven enterprises. And the planning models for mission-driven organizations derived from them are not very useful. So we developed a new way to plan strategically for world-changing organizations from scratch.

It dispenses with the age-old and very time-consuming planning exercises like SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), environmental scanning, and trend analysis. Instead, we help you get straight to the point on how to make your organization more successful—in a way no one else has ever done before.

Our planning model begins by asking you to define what success means for your organization. It then focuses on identifying and strengthening what supports, produces, and drives your success. One of the model’s innovations is it incorporates strategic marketing into planning. This enables you to better target, understand, and serve those who determine your success. If your success depends on making advances in your field, we help you devise better research and development strategies.

A key element of our planning approach is constructing a success map of your organization. You’ll be able to see, for the first time, how success is supported, produced, and driven within your organization. And you’ll be able to pinpoint what needs to be improved and what’s holding your organization back from being more successful.

And what drives people’s passion for your organization is your core values. What you intend to accomplish (your vision) engenders their commitment. And how you act on your core values to make your vision a reality is your mission.

Pyramid of key conditions supporting success, strategies, and results driving success
World-changing vs. profit-driven guiding statements
Marketing mindsets

Strategic marketing

Most people equate marketing with selling. Actually, strategic marketing eliminates the need to sell. It is a systematic way to better understand, engage, and serve those who determine your success. It has been tested and refined in commercial marketplaces for decades.

And branding, the most potent tool in its arsenal, has proved highly effective in shaping consumers’ impressions. It’s the reason today’s commercials rarely mention features and benefits but instead elicit emotions tagged to an organization and what it offers. Why not harness the power of branding to make the world a better place instead of persuading people to buy things they don’t need and won’t make them happier—despite all the smiling facing and touching moments in commercials?

If your organization relies on outside individuals and organizations to accomplish and support its mission, strategic marketing probably holds the key to its success. It can advance your mission, increase your funding, and build a strong base of support for what you do.

There’s only one problem—strategic marketing is a foreign language to most values-driven organizations. Most don’t understand and use terms like target audiences, positioning strategies, and branding. But it’s as crucial to their success as it is to profit-driven companies. So we translated branding into ideas and tools for world-changing organizations. Building an audience-focused organization is one of our recommendations. The adjacent figure on marketing mindsets should convince you why.

Our Strategic Marketing Guide and Workbook are blueprints for making your organization more successful. As we’ve said, its most powerful tool is branding. We think most world-changing organizations could benefit significantly from a more compelling and powerful brand. So we wrote a separate guide on it.

Leadership

The job of leading a world-changing organization comes without a manual. Most authors write leadership books for leaders of profit-driven companies. Little is written about how to lead a business, nonprofit organization, or public institution committed to making the world a better place. So we developed new approaches and tools to lead world-changing organizations and manage their staffs and projects.The figure on the left is our assessment of different leadership styles. Based on our experience, participative-leadership usually works best in most world-changing organizations.

Our Leadership Guide shows leaders how to create a flywheel of success by:

  • Enabling the organization to fulfill its audiences’ needs better and make advances in its field.
  • Building every program into a success and one a star.
  • Creating sustainable revenue and funding streams, and strengthen support for what it does.

And our Manager’s Survival Guide provides managers with the strategies and tools to build high-performing units by:

  • Clarifying their unit’s mission and what “success” means to it.
  • Developing their staff’s natural abilities into talents.
  • Empowering and coaching their direct reports.
  • Building a collaborative, team-based work environment.
  • Helping their unit better understand and fulfill its clients’ needs, or make advances in its field.
  • And doing so in a way that leaves more time for them to complete your their projects.
Leadership styles

Eight Guides and Workbooks—
Free for you to use

As you should know by now, we’ve developed unique approaches to strategic planning, strategic marketing, and leadership tailored to world-changing organizations.We offer free resources on this website and fee-for-service consulting.Our “business model” is to give away everything we’ve researched and developed. You can support us by using our fee-for-services to, say, help you design ingenious strategies, increase your revenues or funding, or build a great place to work.Our guides should print at 300 dpi. 

All information on this site and in our guides is copyrighted.It cannot be copied or used for commercial purposes without our written permission.

Please support our work
By making a donation

If you print or copy our guides, we ask you to make a donation to our Center to help compensate our years of research and development to create them. We suggest a donation of $5 for each copy you use of our guides and workbooks. Just click on “Donate” in the menu. Thanks so much!

Strategic planning guide cover

Strategic Planning Guide

PDF is about 45 pages
and 3.5 MB.

Guiding Statements Guide cover

Strategic Planning Workbook

PDF is about 35 pages
and 2.7 MB.

Strategic Marketing Guide cover

Guiding Statements Guide

PDF is about 20 pages
and 1 MB.

Branding guide cover

Strategic Marketing Guide

PDF is about 40 pages
and 2.7 MB.

 

Leadership Guide cover

Strategic Marketing Workbook

PDF is about 45 pages
and 2.6 MB.

 

Manager's Survival Guide cover

Branding Guide

PDF is about 20 pages
and 1 MB.

 

Branding guide cover

Leadership Guide

PDF is about 65 pages
and 3.7 MB.

 

Leadership Guide cover

The Manager's Survival Guide

PDF is about 25 pages
and 1.4 MB.