Have a plan: doesn't have to be rocket science, but it does need to work.

Have a plan: doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it does need to work.

How DOES matter

How many times, in moments of stress, have you heard the words: ?I don?t care how you do it, just get it done! ?? In the management manual, this ranks up there with the top things NOT to say to employees, but it tends to happen all too often, even to ourselves.

Which means things do get done; but not correctly, well or without causing other problems that take time, effort and aggravation to fix later on. Sloppily entered financial records cause reports to be wrong and unreliable. Letters and posts that are not proof-read and re-proofed before hitting the send button can reduce a beautiful proposal or public posting to nothing.

A Million Dollar Campaign Can Be Derailed by One Rude Person

1.      The donor called very angry about not having been thanked for his 5-figure donation. I was pretty shocked as well, very few gifts this big escape both my attention and our automated acknowledgment system. Because we had such good tracking programs, I was quickly able to show him that, in fact, he sent the check someplace else and it was the other org that had overlooked him. He switched his support to us  🙂

2.      I walked into the store, was ignored by a disinterested sales clerk, who has been equally ignored by his management, so didn’t care if I was there or not. A total lose-lose situation: I didn’t get what I needed and won?t shop there again, the clerk didn’t achieve his sales quota and the company, which has spent advertising millions to get me in the door, will never get a dollar from me. Some training on basic greeting and customer attention could have reversed that outcome.

3.      I contacted a nonprofit for some information: at first the phone was never answered. When I tried again, I got a tired and harassed person who referred me to their website. When I wondered about some volunteering, I got the same answer. This exchange lost them a possible supporter and donor, further,  I did share this experience with others, my own little social media. Negative marketing is just a big and scary a deal as good marketing.

But What To Do?

The solution is to carefully consider HOW things get done at your firm. Everyone is rushed and has too much to do, how can it all be managed, juggled and done right? A good way is to start off with the basics: exactly HOW are you going to do your work? Where does the rubber meet the road, and what is the paper trail? What is the procedure for calls, visits, requests, products or services?

?        What are the feelings and experiences you want visitors and members to have about how you work? This is your culture: it speaks subtly, but loudly.

?        What are the policies, procedures and follow up plans for your staff, members and new contacts?

?        What behavior and actions are expected from whom, in what order and with what accountability?  

–    What is the feeling you want people to leave with? How do you want them to talk about you to others?

Systems and Planning

I suspect these two words are probably close to the bottom of the ?how I can change the world? conversation. But they are an essential part of building your credibility and in the longer term, your ability to function, continue and deliver your mission. As you build your business, as your refine and streamline your processes, think about how a visitor will see these things when they come to you.

We all know visionaries with amazing views of the future and how great it can be. But we also have to remember that to get to that future, we have to get through the day and that means having practices and processes that work efficiently and effectively.

Take the time as you set up your business to get this kind of structure in place, write it down as a step by step approach that includes your policies, which represent your organizational culture, show your grasp of internal organization and reporting requirements and other basic things such as how different documents and items are filed.

It Does Seem Terrifyingly Boring

And yes, it can be and often is. But it is similar to buying batteries before the flashlight does dark, being able to put your hands on stuff you need, knowing where it is or where it could have gone off track will save you hours and teeth gnashing and bumping into hard furniture. Do it.

You go ahead and save the world, and more power to you, let LaurenAssociates help figure out how to keep the office running smoothly, so you can. Call today.  



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