The New Business Professional
We live in a world obsessed with information. We spend countless hours and dollars trying to turn information into useful data upon which we can make sound decisions. In that search for that perfect performance indicator or that magical measure or trend, we can forget to something as simple as a gut check.
- For your people to work inefficiently. Technology changes. Less costly and less time intensive methods of functioning emerge. Often, these new methods also improve the customer experience. By not taking the time to learn these new methods, you're depriving your customers of better service. Can you really afford that in light of your mission?
- For your people to become stale. Changes in the socioeconomic, business, and legal environment are occurring on a regular basis. How do your people not only stay abreast of them but also determine how best to modify their services in light of them without adequate training? Ultimately, you run the risk of providing services that no longer meet the needs of the community or people you serve because you're working from an outdated frame of reference. Can you really afford that?
- For your organization to have gaps in succession. Far too many non-profit organizations have a gap in leadership. We're riding on a tidal wave of looming retirements and people haven't been groomed to step into the shoes of those that are vacating. There's only so much poaching that can occur, ultimately the buck has to stop somewhere. Someone is left with a critical gap. Can you really afford to be that organization left with a critical leadership gap? Aren't the people you serve with more than that?
- Set aside 15 minutes at the end of each day to reflect on the day and prepare for the next day. It takes longer than that to read up on the latest Facebook updates.
- After three weeks of daily reflection and planning, add a weekly reflection and planning time. Set aside an uninterrupted hour each week to reflect on the previous week and plan for the upcoming week. Protect this time like you protect the time for anything else that matters to you. And by the way, 1 hour is far less than the time spent watching a football game or other sporting event. It's also less than the time required to watch you're favorite television shows even if you fast forward through the commercials.
- After 1 month (i.e., you're about 8 weeks in), add a quarterly reflection and planning time. Plan to set aside a 2-4 hour chunk of time where you can reflect on the previous quarter and upcoming quarter. While this seems like a lot of time, it's really not much different than going to a movie once a quarter.
- By the end of the year, you'll be ready to do the same for the year.
Innovation has become the business buzz world. Every one wants it but no one wants the risks and costs associated with it. Innovation, by it's very nature, breeds failure. You will have many more failed attempts than successful attempts. Is the culture of your non-profit organization ready for that? If you're not sure, answer these 5 questions to see where you at on the innovative culture spectrum.