Book It and Ship It

Success is 90% implementation

Leading a nonprofit demands passion, perseverance, the ability to make decisions and communicate them, and to manage the consequences. Making good decisions, timed right, is a significant challenge for any organization.

“Book it and ship it” is a plea to get on to execution. It’s a way of saying, “No more dithering. We’ve done our best here; now let’s put the decision in motion and see what happens.” If problems develop, you manage them. But kicking the can down the road over and over just saps energy. While time should be spent on organizing, strategizing, and planning, success comes from the implementation of ideas.

The cost of perfect information

Time is wasted and opportunities are lost when people become fixated on having perfect information, rather than appreciating that there will never be enough information, nor will there be perfect decisions. And there will always be unexpected twists that can sabotage the best-laid plans, so having a Plan B at the ready is a sound practice.

Planning is essential but success comes from the implementation of your ideas. “Book It and Ship It”: Make a decision and manage the consequences.

Conversation Starter

Book It and Ship It

A complete set of conversation starters to accompany the chapter. ​


Book It and Ship It Toolkit

A complete set of tools to accompany the chapter.

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8 Practical Insights for Nonprofit Leaders


Culture matters. It’s a core organizational asset.


Respecting and trusting your people is the foundation of all good management.


Always listen for and even seek out signs of trouble. Bad news is good news if you do something about it.


Develop “court sense” to see everything that’s happening around you, and to rapidly adjust to changes.


Commit to doing “the whole job.” Investing in organizational capacity contributes to excellence and impact.


With limited time and resources, it’s essential to prioritize and then focus.


Planning is essential but success comes from the implementation of your ideas. “Book It and Ship It.” Make a decision and manage the consequences.


To create a culture of accountability, reinforce individual ownership of problems. Always ask, “Who owns the monkey?”