Are you planning to improve your organization this year? or are you gearing up to do the same-old, same-old?
A lot of organizations these days tend to do the latter. They think that by cruising along and being more busy (than means doubling up on the amount of programs and activities), they are being strategic and effective. Effectiveness here means in my vocabulary the ability to achieve the outcomes and results they wish to seek through their efforts.
Businesses, nonprofits, and governments cruising along and wishfully thinking that they can copy past success by doing the same thing are totally misled. If there is no effort to improve and surpass past year's performance, status can keeps mean sweeping the problem under the rug delaying the resolution of some of the issues pestering the organization that will actually help the organization move forward.
Are you stalling to discuss the next direction of your organization for fear of catching more problems than anticipated? What about the changing environment where complacency doesn't do you any good?
Get out of your comfort bubble and tackle the obstacles in building a new and secure strategic direction before an overwhelming situation compels it at your own expense.
No matter how good you are, how best you are in your field, if you are not evolving and learning everyday, your business, organization, or skillset will hit atrophy and will fall by the wayside of the fast-evolving marketplace.
The market is as brutal as it is. It does not care if you are bankrupt, or starving or needing affirmation. It only wants the best that you can offer. The kind of service, product, skills, and talent that the market can appreciate and pay.
Will you be those that will be take waves when the market is at the peak or those that wait until the innovation has plateaued and you become the laggards and late bloomers? Do you take innovation by the horn and say "we will innovate now before we get disrupted?" or say " let's take our time, we are fine right now and there is no need to rock the boat?". The latter are the words of doom. It spells trouble in the long term for the convenience of the present.
Evolve or disappear in the marketplace. That is how tough you need to play because the market does not wait for anybody to be convinced. It is there for the taking for those that are smart, nimble, aware, and ever-present of opportunities and challenges. They ride on the crest of what is possible.
Do not be complacent about where you are in your career. It is not at ticket to a great retirement or a way to pat yourself that life has been good. It can change anytime and only disrupted workers are bitter workers. If you have to end it well, end it on your terms. The way to live to is to have plans for the next steps. Nothing is so stable now that cannot be moved.
Your Theory of Change is your organization's statement as to how your mission will achieve your vision.
What constitutes an effective Theory of Change?
-Clear causal chains leading to change
-Your inputs, outputs, and outcomes reflect the change
-Explains the underlying assumptions of actions, activities, programs, and portfolios
-Gives explanations to other factors leading to or achieving change
-Gives analysis and context of how change can happen and in what conditions
-Accounts for their contribution to the overall change that they want to see
The theory of change is not:
-About defending the theory or framework itself
-Not about being truistic or being tautological
-Being naïve that your theory of change is unique and never been done somewhere, somehow
-Not learning from lessons of other practitioners, not looking over your shoulder to see what others' have done with the challenges and issues
- Too simplistic, myopic, and mechanistic
- The premise that we 'don't know the solution yet, so our theory of change is about proving the theory." Very wrong.
What is your theory of change? Your theory of change says a lot about the quality of the analysis you put in your work and how it makes a difference every day?
In the Philippines, we have a traditional song that goes....
"Planting rice is never fun"
"Bent from morn till the set of sun"
"Cannot stand and cannot sit"
"Cannot walk for a little bit"
It is not fun at all when you have a water buffalo that wanted to do something else! Life in rural Philippines had changed dramatically but in very remote locations, you can see a farmer with his buffaloes.
I don't know about you but planting the seeds of consciousness starts with preparing the mindset for a new thinking, acting, and doing. It is laying the ground work for future action that will take place in not so distant future. It happens in organizations that are thinking strategic, thinking long-term, and thinking about investing further along. Managers need to think carefully how to set the stage, create an environment where the status quo is no longer adequate to account for challenge, let alone, to compete effectively.
The best scenario is the one that comes from the decision-makers themselves and this goes not by serendipity but by actually nurturing and creating those needs for action, the ownership will be there, and of course, the resourcing will never be behind.
Leading from behind is more art than science. Let your nudge take them where you want them to go.
Is there any thing that you need to do less of, or stop doing completely?
Instead of putting more stuff on your plate, reflect on what you can get rid of it, literally in your closet or in your life.
A few examples:
1. Too much time watching TV, social media, or games watching
2. Researching and looking but never buying
3. Making excuses not to accomplish or complete an action, task, or project
4. Being overcritical but not committing to anything
5. Complaining on things that you cannot control
6. Taking on too much at one time
7. Not being able to say No! when it is more appropriate
8. Walk away from people or events that do no good to your life
9. Less time planning, more time doing things you love to do in the moment
10. Pleasing people to get their favor or sympathy
How about you? What are the elements in your life that needs to be trimmed or totally abandoned and forsaken? Find it out and have a clean slate for 2019.
A newly-minted CEO has a problem of changing practices within the organization. How do you do ensure the changes stick, what messages to say, what needs to be embedded, who needs to model these changes? As part of the management, these are the steps you can take.
1. Practice what you preach. You want things to be changed in the organization. It has to be communicated from the top and be modeled from the top. If people see otherwise, it is just lip service.
2. Model the changes in real-time. Don’t put that in a plan, procedure, policy, or manual, only to be left in a 3-ring binder somewhere. Changes in practices should be implemented on a regular, consistent basis, over time, ensuring clear alignment, focus, and synergy by all stakeholders.
3. Let the best employee model it! I say that, let their peers start to model those changes that the management seek. Employees learn from each other, and the best/or the most influential get to showcase that changes are their friends, not their enemies.
4. What’s in it for me? Do you need to change how people talk to their customers? How the organization plan for the future? How you do want to implement the services? The management has to showcase that with these changes, the organization will hit its targets, and targets being met means profitability and sustainability in the long run. A profitable and sustainable organization takes care of its employees and employees reciprocate the gesture.
5. The changes you want to see should manifest in their performance. Everyone’s performance needs to be evaluated by the outcomes you want to see. Without the measurement, who cares whether it gets done or not! And the CEOs and the management team’s performance needs to get evaluated too. No sacred cows.
These steps will ensure that changes stick and become the norm, not the aberration. You can’t change things over time, but you can start replacing old habits with good habits. It is the same with organizational entities.