Zen Pond

We specialize in helping organizations that make a difference in the world become more successful by advising them on how to: 

  • Design ingenious ways to accomplish their missions—through our innovative approach to strategic planning.
  • Increase revenues and funding—through strategic marketing designed for their unique funding challenges.
  • And create great places to work—through organizational development tailored to their values-driven missions and unconventional staff. 

We’ve written eight leadership guides on these subjects, which you can download from the “Guides” tab above. They describe how we adapt corporate strategic planning, strategic marketing, and organizational development to meet the challenges these organizations face.

Our clients include local-to-global nonprofits, government agencies, and companies in the U.S. and abroad. As subject-matter experts with extensive experience in these subjects, we offer high return-on-investment consulting, training, and other services.


We wrote our guides for specific people in your organization:

  • Your leadership team and board who oversee your strategy and planning—should read our strategic planning guides, which describe what we believe is the best way to plan.
  • Program managers, marketers, and, if you have them, fundraisers who target, engage, and serve your clients and supporters—might do better at all three after they look over our strategic marketing and branding guides.
  • Your leaders and managers who guide your organization and staff—can lighten their loads by applying what’s in our Leadership and Manager’s Survival Guides.

Why did we do this? Because many of the problems we face are growing faster than our ability to solve them. And the organizations tackling them need help. So we decided to share instead of sell what we discovered during our long research and development journey into how to make these organizations more successful.


Effective strategies are crucial to an 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 values-driven organizations derived from them often don’t address their needs. So we developed a new way for world-changing organizations to plan 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 right 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 incorporating strategic marketing into planning. This enables you to better target, understand, and serve those who determine your success. Finally, the success map you’ll construct will reveal how success arises in your organization and what’s holding it back.

Our Strategic Planning Guide and Workbook describe our new planning model and how to use it. And as the figure below shows, everything your organization does, as well as people’s passion for it, stems from its core values. We believe that your guiding statements—core values, mission, and vision—are so crucial to your success that we wrote a separate guide to them.

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 commercials today rarely mention features and benefits but instead, elicit emotions tagged to the 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 faces and touching moments in commercials?

If your organization relies on outside individuals and organizations to accomplish and support its mission, strategic marketing may hold the key to its success. It can advance your mission, increase your revenues or 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 figure on the left about marketing mindsets suggests why.

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

Organizational development

Organizational development (OD) is the art and science of making organizations more effective at delivering on their missions and creating great places to work. It draws from various disciplines to enhance an organization’s human, operational, and structural resources. Use our OD services to:

  • Build a more successful organization by using our unique approach to strengthen what supports, produces, and drives your success.
  • Boost your staff’s motivation and overall performance through world-changing leadership and management.
  • Spur innovation and push decision making down to the lowest appropriate level by adopting a team-based organizational structure.
  • Improve the quality of your services and products while increasing productivity by streamlining your workflow within and across units.
  • Improve communication and reduce conflict through our communication training services.

We incorporate key OD principles and practices in our Leadership Guide and Manager’s Survival Guide. We present others in our training courses listed in our Catalogue of Services and Training Courses.