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There is a level of productivity that is satisfying and brings joy to everyday work.
Once this is overdone, this perpetuates self-doubt and thoughts of self-insufficiency.
When you overprepare, whether it's a speech, a writing, a major presentation, or whatever that brings out fear, this means that you're not actually addressing it but using overpreparation to cover up that fear. It all boils down to self-esteem issue.
Fear dilutes the satisfaction of productivity and in this case, preparation.
Preparation starts in the mind and emotions. Going to a room full of strangers with a very difficult decision to make, prepare mentally and emotionally. Imagine what could potentially transpire and think of alternative ways to get to the bottom of the issue.
There is such a thing as overpreparation. I have overprepared one time and looking back at the videos, a little bit of spontaneity and spunk could bring more lightness to my presentation.
When you have done your best to prepare, relax and enjoy some thing else. Don't focus on it day and night.
The muscle will surely remember what to do when the time comes. The rest is just being yourself and showing no qualms about it.
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Do you always get a notice in the mail for your next car maintenance works? I do. Engine tune-up, wheel adjustment, tire pressure test, change oil, battery check, air filter, to name just a few. Depending on the vehicle, its age, and the uses, other more comprehensive checks are needed every year.
Ordinary people will not complain about this: they want to ensure that the car usage is extended, safety issues are addressed, and of course, avoiding paying for exorbitant repair costs when these issues are ignored.
This is the same as your organization. You might be cruising along fine. You might be focusing on some areas and delaying or ignoring other issues that beset your staff, your stakeholders, your financial health, and overall effectiveness in delivering your services. Most of the time, changes in policies, rules, and regulations, how the 'game is played' change drastically. Newer forms of public engagement, research, evaluation, policy advocacy, cross-sectoral work are now unfolding. Are you leading these change or are you playing a catch-up?
We are leaving the pandemic era in a much slower phase while considering that stronger infrastructures and systems must be put in place in organizations, communities, and systems to benefit from stress, shocks, and pressures. In reality, the on-purpose sector seems to be lagging behind in #beyondresilience.
For those who are hugely successful during the pandemic, one thing stands out. They never let a good crisis cripple them. It made them stronger and more robust. It kept them on their toes. They continue to improve and push the envelope when it comes to impact without ceasing. Regular tuning up is not an obligation but a necessary exercise to achieve excellence without breaking your wallet.
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Today's news is tomorrow's archive.
If you're waiting for the right opportunity, it might pass you by without you making sense of it.
Fortunately, the world will not stop to pick you up when you're ready and willing.
I believe that opportunities are disguised as conundrum- these are confusing and difficult problems to solve. I saw with my own eyes, how purpose-driven organization turned their world upside down because they saw massive opportunities during the pandemic for their members, the least of these members. I observed how customer-driven organizations refuse to let their excellent track record be affected by the remote work during the crisis. I know personally that some small businesses are not cutting costs but instead, expanding value to their community even more.
These are opportunities. Another kind of opportunity is what you imagine and create for yourself. Waiting sucks! I have been mentoring a newcomer professional for a number of months and I can say that she's not waiting in her room. She is busy getting out there, creating opportunities to network and link up, and building her credentials so that she can land the job she dreams of! She is physically, emotionally, socially, and financially buffing up! What a great attitude can do?
It's not cosmic alignment or a question of luck or maybe a great break, it's the everyday readiness that springs you forward. When the opportunity is at hand, I get ready for the next.
What are you readying for?
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In an imperfect world with stifling budget and ever-expanding mandate, you might be tempted to roll your sleeve more and work harder. Before you do that, check all the value and motivation-destroying activities you engage, see instituted, or passed off as necessary.
1. Bureaucracy. Too much paper-shifting, oversight, approvals. I saw this in my former life as a municipal staff and very draining.
2. Failure work. Countless rewriting and re-editing, and asking for countless validation. Let's define what's needed and stop repeating the process.
3. Overreach. It's good to say you're inclusive and highly participatory, but overdoing it, doesn't add to another inch of impact.
4. Not communicating well. Setting clear expectations and being mindful of interpretations from different stakeholders matter. It's a preventative measure you can start with.
Ask these questions now in your organization. Reframe the assumptions and received thinking around them. Provoke new ways of doing things. It's your work, it's your life.
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It's that time of the year.
I was on the phone a few months ago, with the Executive Director who was looking for a Strategic Planning service. As usual, the conversation went as far as detailing the needs, specifications, and the rationale for reaching out for an external resource.
Let's break the four misconceptions about strategies and strategic formulation, in general.
1. Get the text out soon. The product is important but there's more to the written text
The process dynamics will be so rich that you should capture the momentum to bring your organization to another level of development or competency. Strategy exercises expend a lot of energy and resources, do it all with care and devotion, it will have positive compounding effects.
2. We begin from zero every time. The process is not linear and you don't have to start all over again
The brick-and-mortar style can be shortened, there is no hard and fast rule on stages and how organizations should approach the strategy development. Use your prior strategic decisions to move you forward on a long-term path unless there's a big reason to make a radical right turn.
3. We don't have to implement them. Yes you do.
It doesn't mean that you have to implement them all at once and with equal amounts of strategies and tactics. Implementation is an art and a science. There are bridging processes to ensure that the old strategy gives way to the new one without cutting off continuing impacts. It's like buying an expensive exercise machine and not using it or winning the lottery and returning the money back. Get the point?
4. We want to include a specific commitment to (another motherhood value statement). You can't include the kitchen sink, sorry.
Remember, its your strategic direction- how you are going to act in the face of internal and external challenges, constraints, and opportunities to achieve your goals. Unless, it's strategic, leave it to the values section.
Read this before you call someone for external support or talk to your Board or staff so you can get on with the program. Call me when you're ready to proceed.
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An organization that identified a huge gap in their operational talked to a consultant recently. They are willing to confront the pain and are willing to take steps to immediately reset their efforts. Then silence, silence, silence.
What's happening behind the scenes would be telling? When managers have no strategic confidence to make decisions on the basis of information acquired and in the best intentions, paralysis-analysis occurs. They like bring too many people in the analysis of the problem, the prognosis, and the actions to be taken. They want to be told what to do. In short, they want to avoid failing at all costs.
When this happens, failure-avoidance leads to very smart but all too narrow gains. What can you lose with that investment? Reputation loss, money, staff time, and opportunity costs?
Think hard, are you losing all of them right now as we speak by doing the paralysis-analysis and failure-avoidance techniques.
If you're too afraid, shut the doors and windows, and stay under the covers.
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Running an on-purpose organization, as in life, is all about a marathon, not a sprint.
There will be greater, better, more beautiful, and hugely successful than your organization, accept it.
But the biggest fallacy to succumb is to compete against the top 10% of the world, which is not a healthy crusade to take on.
If it's survival of the fittest, then take your best competition as an inspiration to springboard you away from the grinding struggle and take the most logical next step. If it's building your value system as the first ground breaking practice, do it with care and attention it deserves. If it's about building an impact strategy you can be proud of, trust your process and the intentions behind it. If you're trying to make good with people from overseas using your talents and bunch of individual supporters, know that you're not alone in that journey. Instead of envying your competition, learn from their effectiveness.
Don't take the biggest problem ever and solve it. Take the nearest problem, and slay it with passion. That's how to overcome overwhelm from the unrealistic self-imposed burden.
We don't need heroes and divas. We believe in you and me, ordinary mortals with extraordinary generosity.
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In the on-purpose world, we still have organizations stuck in the twentieth-century thinking that the public donors do not want to pay for administration. Websites of many of these organizations are proud of declaring that they only get 10% for administration, the rest to core programming. Many think that it's larceny to allocate more than 10% or to some extent bad practice to ask for more.
What we can glean from this based on leadership and management perspective, these organizations have no
- capability of building up and strengthening their core processes
- capability of securing and retaining great talent- a must to survive and thrive!
- capability to build strategically for the future
- see themselves as sacrificial conduits with their begging bowls every year
- always uncertain, tentative and highly disrupted by the larger forces around them
- cannot stand up for their principles, values, and commitments
They maybe good with their programs but they're not sustainable and even effective in the long run. If you're not taking care of your own house, how can you be the most charitable for all?
Don't compromise your organizational sufficiency in the altar of public legitimacy.
At the next blog, I will share some of the strategies to get away from the 10% group.
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I was at the airport in August to pick my mom who was coming from BC. It should just be a straight-forward experience. It turned out that it was a complete nightmare.
The airline delayed the flight twice and by the we get there, the ground stewardess said that it just left the place of origin. So we waited a few more hours. After that, we were again baffled that the flight didn't show up in the flight screen. We went back to the airline station and inquired the exact arrival time of the plane. The stewardess said that the plane will leave at night, about 9pm. This was a confusing information.
We checked again for the flights coming from BC but no flights arrived in the last 6 hours. We inquired again for the last time and another flight stewardess confirmed that the plane will be leaving by 9pm. So we drove home feeling drained and disappointed.
I got a phone call from my sister informing me that my mother's plane arrived an hour ago and she was sitting in the airport station!
What a big mess! The flight information didn't show the place where the last passengers boarded their plane. The stewardesses were not aware of flight data and to top it all, gave us the wrong information. This airline is the worst in delays, misinformation, and discoordination between its people.
The lesson here is don't trust the information. Get it from the source from your travelling family member. Breakdown in systems and communications happen all the time in larger organizations. When this happens, customers have to rely on their smarts to get through all the muddle. If they don't know that their tail is missing, they would care less about other things.
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You need an energizer or icebreaker in meetings.
It cuts the precious time for substantive issues that are needed to be discussed in the meeting. Who has a lot of time to sit down in meetings that take quite a long time to get to the real issues?
Mothers know best.
Not really. At a certain point, mothers gradually relinquish that role of a know-it-all and respect the independence of their children.
Volunteer first before you can get a job in the organization.
Not true. If you want to volunteer, fine, but keep your expectations real. Sometimes, it is not going to happen in a million years.
Opportunity comes knocking once.
Not true. Opportunity is ever present in many things. Our challenge is to enhance our ability to see opportunities disguised as something else.
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Not true. People spent thousands of dollars on book covers alone. We judge things by the cover/appearance.
Early bird gets the worm.
It doesn’t follow. Some early birds get eaten because they are too early for the event.
Not anymore. The society and its expectations about reward and recognition fall on those able to become a real asset to the organization, not just those who have been loyal but utterly useless.
There are many clichés about many things. Take time to analyze that they are not truths but sometimes meant to be excuses not to improve the situation.