Does your organization have good habits?

organizational structureWith technology being such a large part of our everyday life, it seems as if more and more organizations are trying to abandon their tried and true ways of doing business and are trying to emulate the organizational style of the hot, new tech companies.

They are enamored with how the tech folks raise funds, brand themselves and go to market, how they serve their constituents and how they run their business in general.  If you are in the tech sector and hope to stay in the game, then every year or even more often than that, you need to come up with the next new daring, innovative and “gotta have” gadget. However, after a while, the new gadget is no longer the world’s darling. It’s now passé and a competitor has introduced a better, faster, cooler or cheaper version.  And now . . .  you are off to a new race to develop a newer, better, faster, cooler or cheaper version. It’s a mad cycle.

Whether folks are running a nursing home, an ice cream shop or trading hog belly futures it seems as if many of them think the tech model is the best way to run their organization. They have decided that they need to introduce a certain number of new products or services each year and run a big “flash & glitz” marketing campaign to prove to the world that they are “with it”. Imagine your local food bank doing this !

However, there are still a lot of organizations that do things the old fashioned way, are very successful and will likely continue to be so in the foreseeable future. Old fashioned business values that built our country like working hard, listening to customers (clients, constituents, etc), showing up every day, doing the basics very, very well and staying true to the organization’s founding vision (stick to your knitting) is still a good way to run an organization.

But even with tech companies, In between the cool new gadgets, the new product introductions and the major milestones of the marketing campaign, they still have to, behind the scenes, take the “slow and steady” tortoise approach to business. They have to work hard, listen to customers, show up every day and do the basics. If your product (or window of opportunity for non-profits) will have a short lifecycle, you have to keep to a steady pace regardless of what is happening “outside the compound”. When the cool factor fades on your new gadget or when a competitor or some other organization starts to offer the same service as you, then you will have to, just like the tech folks, be ready to jump back into the market with the next new gadget or the next new service, the next new way of going to market. The question then, is will you be ready when you need to be.

You can’t go on a crash diet to get ready, because they don’t work. To paraphrase Seth Godin, who in a recent blog post wrote, “They don’t work for losing weight, they don’t work for making sales quota and they don’t work for getting and keeping a job. The reason they don’t work is that they don’t change habits, and habits are where lives and careers and bodies are made.”

For instance,the habit of you showing up regularly, without flash or fanfare, is what makes a difference with a Meals on Wheels recipient. The secret isn’t a great new pitch, a great new gadget or a new pair of shoes. The secret is simply the habit of showing up every day and doing the basics very, very well over an extended period of time.

Does your organization have good habits ?

Steve Durham

Sr. Account Manager, FSIoffice

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