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Advice from Outside the Square

Category Archives: Strategic Planning

6 Steps To Create Your Plan On A Page

Managing an Indigenous Organisation can be sometimes like herding cats.The organisation is constantly under pressure from things that are happening outside but that affect the work. Lack of resources is a root cause of being unable to organise work and systems to create efficiency. If you have a strategic plan, you probably don't have time to look at it until that time when...it's too late?Yet at the same time, in order to move from day to day chaos, you always need to set a direction, and you need to set it in such a way that it is easy to refer to and to follow.Making To-Do lists is great. But To-Do lists are simply a set of actions, they do not always relate to goals and bigger picture achievements. Without these, any To-Do list becomes lost in a sea of activity.If you are clear about your goals they become possible. But in order to make those goals real, you need plans. Once you have plans, you, and the whole organisation, need to work on them – every day! This means they must be practical and visible.How do you keep your goals and plans front of mind before you get lost...
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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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Do You Want A Good Business Or A Great Business?

I was talking to a client recently about preparing a long term plan for his business. He replied that while it was interesting he really didn't need all the stuff I do for others, like business planning, marketing, and systems.He said that he thought he was a good business man, in his words "not brilliant but I know my stuff", because he had learned how to run his business through experience.Now let me set the scene. Let's call him Danny.Danny is not an older business person dyed in the wool in the old ways. He's in his 40's and while he struggles a little bit with tech, he uses the internet a lot to research and find new suppliers and markets. He's not what I'd call conservative and he has run his business successfully for over 10 years.What do I mean by "successfully"?Well, it's a small business that supplies raw material to manufacturers. It's not a big market so Danny keeps his small customer list happy and has only lost customers when the customers have gone out of business or after being beaten on price, never through dissatisfaction.As a small business with a small customer list Danny doesn't care about...
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Four Steps To Simplify Your Message

Do you want to explain difficult facts to clients? Do you want to get a sales message across?The first few seconds of any interaction is critical, whether you know the other person or not.This is particularly important in any business interaction today where people's time seem so limited, people seem so aware of "that sales pitch" coming and are ready to tune off. Today's SMS and social media world seem to do nothing but ready for us to listen to tweets.If you want to put your business message across, whether it is advice, technical information or a sales pitch you need to tune yourself and your communication to that frequency which is most clear.I have found that the best way to do this is to use four simple steps in any business communication.First, meet people where they are, in order to take people to where you want them to go.If you want someone to understand your message, you need to understand what they care about. They may care about cost, or they may care about ease of use, or indeed they may care about something human like not being embarrassed. Understand their hot buttons, and acknowledge it before you go...
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