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Small Biz and NFPs - Stop Relying on "What We Always Do"
The Sprocket Report
Following the old ways may be easy, but doing business “like we always do” can be a sure path to stagnation or slow failure. Read on for five ways “as always” is hampering your success.
Start-ups are well-known for flying by the seat of their pants, but eventually small biz owners find that once their business becomes successful, a new strategy is needed. Non-profits have similar issues because it’s easier to be passionate about a cause than to slog through day-to-day operations. Here are five common mistakes many folks make:
Not making a plan
Planning may seem like a bore, especially when you’ve done the same thing many times before, but blundering around willy-nilly just wastes everybody’s time. Your event or project, or really any goal, requires a written plan that is accessible to everyone involved. When the plan only exists in the head of one person, it’s pretty hard to enlist engaged helpers for completing the goal. If you want folks to share the load, you have to share the plan, too.
Not following the plan
Once the plan has been documented, everyone must agree to follow it as written. Naturally, something could come up that will necessitate flexibility, but stay on track as much as possible. Check off the tasks as they are completed to keep everyone moving toward the goal and ensure effort isn’t wasted on redundant work. It’s both efficient and satisfying to know at a glance how things are progressing.
Assigning the same people to the same tasks
It might seem like a good idea to let the most experienced folks keep doing what they’ve always done, but occasionally you should shake things up a little. People get burnt out. They lose their passion and then their work becoming sloppy and uninspired. Try guiding them to try something different that will reignite their enthusiasm and pass their old job on to someone who might have exciting new ideas.
Overloading your newbies
It’s tempting to dump most 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 time around.
Not placing (or accepting) responsibility appropriately
While cooperation between departments or committees is important, responsibility should be clearly defined. The wrong person swooping in to fix a failure can muddy the water so that it’s even harder to plan for the next goal. Budgets need to be accurate, and roles clearly identified so there are no surprises when a team is reorganized or a member leaves.
With a new year about to start, this could be your opportunity for a different strategy instead of doing it “like we always do.” With a good plan in hand, free up your company or non-profit to try new techniques such as social media advertising or online event administration. The Sprocket team can assist you with many of these tasks so your employees or volunteers can focus their efforts elsewhere. Give us a call today to discuss how we can work together.
Photo by Mizuno K
This article is an update to “Like We Always Do” Is a Lousy Strategy” dated 7/20//2015.
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