A Message from DRIF CEO Sean Kramer the Importance of Thinking Big

(October 2020) I’ve always had a theory that Big Ideas leads to Big Gifts and Small Ideas leads to Small Gifts. Though I’ve never explored the actual rationale behind the theory. I suppose at the point we find ourselves in today’s world that it makes sense to put additional thought as to why this is more than just theory.

I’ve often equated running a non-profit or business with being more than just a quarterback on the field. While the quarterback can execute and drive the ball down the field, it really is the coach behind the scenes who is providing the vision and plan for how to achieve the ultimate goal, a win. For the purposes of this post, I will use the term business over non-profit, primarily because a non-profit organization is a business though often not looked at in those terms. So in business, the leader of the organization sets the overall direction, outlines the plan, provides the playbook, hires the team members, and sets them loose to do what they do best.

I often think about teams with minimal direction or vision. How would the team members understand what to do, where to go, where the goal line is? What if the coach simply said go out and get to the 50-yard line of the field and that’s good enough. Is that good enough? Is it good enough for the team members on the field? Is it good enough for the fans in the stands? Good enough for the sponsors or financial backers?

While it may seem obvious that the end result should be getting to the goal line. It’s not enough. There needs to be a greater vision provided to not just the players on the field but to everyone involved in the organization to understand what the ultimate goal is. The same is true in business. As a leader, we cannot be satisfied with only providing half the story. We must be prepared to reach the end goal.

At the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, our ultimate goal is clear. End Diabetes. Simple, close our doors. It is this larger vision that we feel we can rally our foundation team members, the researchers, and the entire diabetes community to get behind. No one would be thrilled if we said, we’re simply going to conduct research that gets us halfway to a cure. We have a responsibility to the entire diabetes community both impacted today and those who have yet to be impacted to finish the job we started out to do.                                                                   

We are confident we have the clarity of mission, focus, and purpose with our foundation team and our researchers to get the job done. Now it’s up to our team to ensure that everyone out in the diabetes community understands that we have a big vision and that together we can achieve the ultimate goal. It truly is a team effort and we’re committed to making it a reality. Together.

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