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Advice from Outside the Square

Category Archives: Organisational Development

Outsource for Efficiency

Once upon a time, running a small business was relatively uncomplicated. Not easy, but uncomplicated. You were good at something. You saved or borrowed some capital. You set up procedures that focused on doing what you were good at, which was what drove the business, and then you hired people who could do the supporting functions like keeping the books. As you progressed, you hired some contract specialists like tax accountants, or you hired contractors to do things you didn't want to do like clean the office every night. (more…)...
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How To Do Things You Don’t Enjoy In Your Business

Like me, there are things you have to do that you don’t enjoy. You know – go on a diet, exercise, that sort of thing! But you know you have to do it, and the consequences are clear, so you do them! I’m sure you have your ways to discipline yourself and to turn the mind from “have to” to “get to do!” But what about in your business? Sometimes in your business, you have to do things that, not only do you not enjoy but that you might actually hate to do! These are situations where you have to cold-call a new customer (I know I hate that), or you have to discipline staff for some inappropriate behaviour; or perhaps even having to learn new skills that you just know you can't do. In these situations it’s not about not having the time, or feeling uncomfortable – it’s about actually hating to have to do it! That negativity causes procrastination and delay, you put it off, plans stall, your to-do list piles up, and perhaps your business even suffers. These are not things that would be nice to do and which you don’t enjoy – these are things you hate doing but you absolutely must do because if you don’t your business really suffers! How do you...
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Design Your Organisation Chart Now!

All small businesses start in a very similar way, and I’ll bet you can relate to this story: Jack and Jill started their small business just by themselves. They did most things together– they did the sales together, they discussed stock levels as they ordered stock, they worked side by side as they stacked the shelves, they took turns to write different pages of their website, they kept the books together, together they opened every morning and closed every evening. Then they got busy as the business grew and they hired a store helper, Sue. Sue was really keen and helpful, she mucked in and helped to do everything as well. In some things, all three of them were interchangeable as they looked after all the tasks in the business. But things were starting to get missed because they got confused about who was going to do what. This didn't really matter because one of them would see the confusion and between the three of them they sorted it out. Then the business became more successful and they hired Tom. Between the 4 of them, they did all the activities of the business as people could. If one was busy another picked up the slack. But more...
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What Does Your Vision Statement Mean?

Let me ask those of you who are Chairpersons, Directors and CEO's of Indigenous organisations: "Do you really know what your vision statement means?" Do you know what your organisation will look like when you have got there? How will your people behave in the future - do they behave as the vision statement imagines they might? I have been helping Indigenous organisations prepare strategic and business plans for decades. All too often, I see organisations with a Vision Statement that is printed in plans, brochures, documents and written on the "About Us" page of their websites. And yet, when I ask those questions, although people might say "sure, we do," they can rarely translate their vision into concrete steps and goals to help them actually work towards their vision. All too often the published Vision Statement is a nice set of words that don't mean anything in their work. I have to ask, why don't people make more of their Vision Statement? Why isn't their Vision Statement the ultimate goal of all planning and operational management? How do you make it so? (more…)...
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