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Advice from Outside the Square

Category Archives: Organisational Development

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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Managing People? Learn about 3 skills

Yes, we have read about "Leadership" and how that is different from "Management". Yes, we are well aware that moving a large group of people towards common goals require vision and the ability to translate that vision to the employees. Yes, we are clear about how productive a vibrant and self-motivated workforce can be.But wait, what if we are talking about managing rather than leading (some of us remain "managers" of people after all). What if we are talking about managing the work of individuals? After all you can't "lead" 50 individuals individually.What do you have to do?Here's my suggestions:-1. Learn to delegate, and delegate properly, making sure the objective is clear, the authorisation is approved, and the tools are available, as well as be clear about how often and how you want to be informed.2. Learn to push different buttons. You will be managing a number of individuals that make up a team, but each individual will be of different ages, different experiences and be in different financial and social circumstances. Understand what makes them tick and push the buttons that motivate them.3. Learn to work with different motivating forces - I accept good teams can display coherent behaviours...
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Do you have the skills to be a Board Director?

Having spent a lifetime advising Boards of small and larger enterprises, I now spend a considerable amount of my time sitting in Board myself as a Non-Executive Director. It is interesting to me when I look over the meeting tables at my fellow Directors and see what they bring to that table.I believe many Non-Executive Directors bring technical skills to the Board, and others bring their management experience having run their own businesses. This is all well and good, but I believe that being a Non-Executive Director, you need to bring a different set of more helicopter-level skill-sets. Funnily enough, I believe these skills are very similar, if not the same as those of a good leader in a business, or those necessary to run your own good small business, even though the extent of the practice of those skills is different.Here is what I think you need to do if you become a Non-Executive Director.* To start with, you need to learn as much as you can about the business and industry, especially if it is an industry you have not actually worked in yourself. You need to understand where the company sits in the industry and its market...
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