I hear from a lot of managers how their organizations want to achieve too much with a fraction of its real costs and get staff to do more than they can possibly accomplish.
The disease-to-overachieve that permeates in many organizational cultures is strong where the need is irrational leading to unhealthy decision options. Manager complain of longer work hours, additional responsibilities without supports, resources, and systems alignment, and expectations to be easy on the budget.
Overachievement comes from fear.
Fear of not measuring up;
Fear of failure;
Fear of being not being seen as a strong and viable entity;
Fear of not being on par with your constituencies and networks;
This fear is overcompensated by absorbing too much, too soon, and with too little. Scope creep becomes an accepted norm. Resisting this in a culture where more is great is near suicidal and would cost a career loss.
I heard some time ago from a local town person that their local township is trying to be what it's not. People in the inside can't see this clearly.
If you're caught up in the whirlwind of overachievement, ask your leaders, the following questions:
1. What exactly they want to remove off your plate so you can get things done on more important things?
2. What supports and resources are available right now to achieve these goals?
3. What goals are good-to-have and what are the musts?
4. What activities generate the best outcomes?
These questions can lead to more realization and quite frankly, a light in the tunnel.
The funny thing about start up boot camp is that it's just a boot camp.
It simulates real-life struggles, pains, and turmoil but can barely do so without either running out of steam or funding.
Start ups who are cocooned in this type of environment believe that it will always be easy, there are answers to almost everything, and that with the right technique you can have it all in quick time.
In business and in life, there are many uncontrollable factors and under time pressure, funding pressure, and impact pressure, few entrepreneurs make it without the emotional, psychological, and physical trauma and strains of keeping with the program.
The biggest take-away that a boot camp can do is to let entrepreneurs learn on their own without the grants, supports, networks, and prized monies. What will that look like?
Strip away all the prestige and glamour attributed to entrepreneurialism, it's really about marshalling whatever you have, rather than aiming and getting to their best position.
Bird in hand....
The best organizations are constantly unlearning not just learning constantly.
There a big difference between those who are always challenging themselves versus those who are already feeling that they have reached and arrived.
A few comments I have heard through the years where external help is rejected on the basis of:
If it's not invented here, it wont work.
We are pretty good at what we do.
We have another consultant that we 're still working on.
We don't need another external person to know our problems.
The current Board or Executive will not support this intervention.
Our Request for Proposal is our vehicle for getting help.
Our priorities right now are very different from the last Executive Director.
We don't have a budget for this kind of exercise.
All these are excuses and should not be seriously considered.
The best organizations do recognize that 'if there's a will, there's a way.' Unlearning should happen before actual learning happens. Bringing a resource is a matter of strategy and an asset that can be deployed when needed, not when the organization is in a critical condition.
Past success is never a predictor for future success.
We all have a to-do list. We do.
This list piles up as we navigate another setback with the pandemic.
But have you ever wondered, that before you add more to your list. You need to take out three things:
Not helpful to your goals- eschew them and replace with things that help you everyday get to where you want to be;
Not relevant- eschew ideas that are pedestrian or simply have lost their essence through evolution or revolution;
Not tenable- eschew practices that you will never be able to implement or accomplish given what you're already doing. Be honest with yourself.
Be very cruel about these things or this will hamper your ability to accelerate your progress.
Again, be honest with yourself.
What are you removing from your list today and freeing yourself from?
Your freedom starts today.
There are many ways bureaucratic organizations refuse to believe that the horse is dead and would try different approaches to prove to themselves that it's not so.
1. Appoint a committee to study the horse.
2. Create a training session to improve riding skills.
3. Increase funding to improve the horse's performance.
4. Visit other site to see how they ride dead horses.
5. Declare that no horse is too dead to ride.
6. Buy a stronger whip.
7. Increase the standards for riding dead horses.
8. Hire an external consultant to show a dead horse can be ridden.
9. Form a workgroup to find uses for a dead horse, if all else fails.
10. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position or vice president.
Stop beating the dead horse in your organization.
This could be a rehashed idea, practice, or custom that are no longer relevant, valuable, and appropriate to the times.
The costs of reviving the old to account for the new versus creating new out of new experiences, discoveries, and insights are far greater.
Consider investing in the right tools and mechanisms to get to 'new ideas' and become better at attracting the right champions to it.
Source: Another vision of the story may be found at www.abcsmallbiz.com/funny/deadhorse.html
Last year, I discussed that Mission is not Enough. Being an on-purpose organization alone without exhibiting sufficient value for society through their target partners is a major degeneracy.
Few organizations behave differently in purpose sector and do not exhibit these following traits or tell these drama:
1) Self-privileged- We do good in the world, therefore you should....... us.
2) Poor us, we do God's work-We don't have money for investing with our talent, systems, and operational excellence. We don't have overhead, therefore, you should trust us to be excellent in delivery. Non-sequitur..
3) It's enough to do good- We don't need to innovate. Our mission speaks for our existence and that's enough for you to give as grants, donations, etc. Mission is not enough. Being good seldom works.
4) There's too much need out there, we are overstretched, please stop demanding more!- We don't need to do better than what we do currently.
These are lame excuses for organizations whose relevance has become antedated without them knowing.
Look yourself in the mirror, if these are the same words you are operating with in late 2020 as an executive, get out of the way or get your acts together.
Nobody will ever laud that your organization existed, they only care if you have performed well beyond society's expectations.