“Like We Always Do” Is a Lousy Strategy
The Sprocket Report
Regardless of whether you’re running a company or a not-for-profit, doing business “like we always do” is a sure recipe for stagnation or outright failure. It may seem easier to fall back on old habits, but here are five ways you are derailing your own success.
Flying by the seat of your pants may work well for start-ups, but many small business owners find that once a business becomes successful, a new strategy is needed. Non-profits have similar issues because it’s one thing to be passionate about a cause and quite another to slog through day-to-day operations. We watched some clients struggle with this recently so we’re passing on what they learned:
Make a Plan
Some creative types find planning a bore, but blundering around just wastes everybody’s time. Any goal, whether a project or an event, requires a written plan that is accessible to everyone involved. Too often the plan is only in someone’s head and then they wonder why no one’s helping to complete the goal. If you want to share the load, you have to share the plan, too.
Follow the Plan
Once the plan has been documented, everyone must agree to follow it as written. Of course changes may occur, and should be noted, but stay on track as much as possible. Check off tasks as completed to keep moving toward the goal and ensure effort isn’t wasted on redundant work. Now you’ll know at a glance how well things are progressing.
Don’t Assign the Same People
While it’s tempting to let the most experienced folks keep doing what they’ve always done, occasionally you should shake things up a little. People get burnt out. They lose their passion and their work suffers, becoming sloppy and uninspired. Guiding them to try something new can reignite their enthusiasm.
Don’t Overload the Newbies
It’s also tempting to dump much of the grunt work on the newest team members, but that technique could come back to bite you. If you ask too much of them, they may buckle under the pressure and flee, leaving you with a mess to clean up. Instead, give them partners who will support them and train them to be your experts for the next project.
Place and Accept Responsibility Appropriately
While cooperation between departments or committees is important, responsibility should be clearly defined. Swooping in to fix a failure can muddy the water so that it’s harder to plan for the next goal. Budgets need to be accurate and roles identified so there are no surprises when a team is reorganized or a member leaves.
When school starts, committees reconvene and businesses renew their efforts. Instead of doing it “like we always do,” this could be your opportunity for a different strategy. With a plan in hand, your company or non-profit could be free to try some new techniques like digital marketing, social media or online applications. If you’re eager for something different, give us a call. We’re happy to help you explore the possibilities.