Category Archives: Research

How to assess staff and volunteer training needs.

Training needs must be assessed in order to ensure that you are helping staff and volunteers to do their jobs well.You should do this when people first start work or volunteer for your organization, when their job or technology changes or when there is a change in priorities in your organization.

Problems that arise in the organization may be the result of skill shortages.For example, your team may fail to qualify for the finals of the competition because the head coach has not prepared it properly.Therefore when trying solve performance problems, you should ask your self the following questions:

  • Has a shortage of skills contributed to this problem?
  • What are the reasons for the skills shortage?
  • Can the shortage be addressed with training?
Company staff and volunteers sharing

Training needs analysis-Training needs analysis entails the following steps:

  • Break up the activities as part of the job into a series of tasks.
  • Describe the knowledge and skills required to perform each task.
  • Assess the person against the knowledge and skills.
  • Discuss with the job holder their perceived requirements.
  • Consider personal development needs.

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How to successfully create your organization/company brand.

Branding basically entails the promoting of a corporate brand to the customers.The whole organization (company) corporate brand and positive image must be promoted to the customer as opposed to just promoting the company products and services.

Organization(company) brand

To create effective brands the areas of identity, unique symbols, strategies, values &norms and marketing must all be well aligned and should positively resonate with the customer needs and demands.The following can guide in creating an effective organization (company) brand:

  • Do you have a suitable name for your organization (company)?
  • Does your company have a unique logo that can be used to identify it in the market place?
  • Are there some unique colours or uniform wear(like for a school) that you want to be identified with?Have you picked the perfect ones that resonates with your values and norms?
  • What is the address of your organization (company)?what is the physical location of the headquarters of your organization (company)? Does your organization have a mail address code like postal code?Does your organization have an official telephone contact? Does the company have an official email address bearing the name as well as logo of the company?Does the organization have a website?
  • Are all these means of accessing the company always available and accessible or Are they in a dysfunctional state?Are these means regularly updated with relevant information (like a website).Is there someone who engages customers through this channels (like for telephones, websites and social media platforms)?
  • What is your company vision?
  • What are your company goals?
  • Are the company vision as well as goals well defined and communicated?
  • What is the mission of your organization (company)?
  • Does the mission reflect the vision as well as goals of the organization?
  • What are the strategic objectives of your organization (company)?
  • Are the strategic objectives well stated?
  • Are the strategic objectives S.M.A.R.T (check out for Creating strategic objectives)?
  • Do the strategic objectives align with the mission ,goals and vision of the organization?
  • What is the strategy of your company?
  • Is the strategy aligned with the vision and regularly adapted to the environment?
  • Is the company strategy elaborate enough at the highest level of the company?
  • What problem does your organization (company) solve?
  • What solutions to the particular problem is your company set to offer or provide?
  • Are the solutions that you offer clearly defined and well communicated to the customers?
  • Does your organization have core values and norms?
  • Are the company core values and norms well defined and communicated?
  • Do the core values align with your organization vision and goals?
  • Do you have any marketing strategy for your organization?
  • Do you know your potential customers?
  • Do you know the history pertaining marketing of your company products or services?
  • What is your sales strategy?
  • Do you understand the competitors of your organization?( both their strengths and weaknesses)?
  • Do you know your organization strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is your strategy of solving your weaknesses?
  • How do you intend to promote your company services and products?
  • What is the projected total market sales volume?
  • What percentage share of the total market sales volume do you intend to achieve?
  • What is your price strategy?
  • How does your pricing strategy compare with other similar companies?
  • What are your company’s selling points or modes of selling?(physical store,agent store, online selling points,specify any other selling points or modes of selling)
  • What forms of sales force does your company employ(full time sales force,part time sales force, affiliate marketing,Agent marketing, subsidiaries, specify any other form of selling and marketing)?

Do you need help setting up an effective company brand ?If the answer is yes then I recommend that seek the services of a company organizations that deal in branding , you can find them both online and offline.A good place to begin is to peruse through the services that companies offer another viable way is by checking out any advert about companies that offer branding services to their clients.

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How to manage time

Managing time is one of the challenges of being a successful organization manager.If time is not managed properly you run the risk of being unable to work as well as you would like.

Every activity must be allocated time

Time wasting activities -In order to have the time to do the work required, you will require a time management strategy.First, however it is important to know what might lead you to waste time.This activities include:

  • Not spending enough time prioritising tasks or being clear about what has to be achieved.
  • Putting off tasks that have to be achieved because they are too difficult or boring.
  • Working on tasks that are simple rather than important.
  • Responding to the person who shouts the loudest rather than doing the most important tasks.
  • Trying to do everything, rather than getting someone to assist.
  • Giving out incorrect or poorly expressed information so that time is wasted by having to provide more information and correcting errors.
  • Unnecessarily lengthy phone calls, meetings or conversations.

Time management strategies -Once time wasting activities have been identified,a time management strategy should be formed based on five principles:

  • You need to record all commitments,including meetings,tasks to be completed and deadlines and carryout regular work planning.
  • You need to be clear about what it is you have to achieve.This will allow you to prioritize your work.
  • You need to structure your time.Divide your time into blocks and allocate these blocks to certain activities.Tasks requiring concentration and research should be allocated to the time when you feel most alert.
  • You need to identify time periods when you can and cannot be disturbed by those who work with you.
  • You need to learn to say “no”, Rather than making you appear lazy,the ability to turn down requests for work when overloaded will make you appear efficient and the work that you do will be better.

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How to make decisions in a successful organization.

A group discussing before making a decision

Organization management as well as life in general is all about making decisions.To make rational decisions,we go through a process very similar to that suggested above for problem solving.We need to:

  • Be clear about the choices available and the criteria against which the choice should be made.
  • Obtain sufficient information in order to assess the choices.
  • Make a decision.

Mistakes people make while making decisions. Decision making rarely follows the process set out above as people tend to make decisions based on:

  • Claims and hearsay.
  • Past experience
  • Knowledge of other organizations
  • Recent training taken
  • Judgement and judgemental attitude
  • Creativity
  • Personal abilities

We make decisions under time constraints and often without comprehensive information.Therefore decision making is rarely rational.In fact we generally aim to make the best possible or most satisfactory decision under the circumstances.We try out solutions that have worked in the past or that have been successful for other organizations, colleagues, people or departments.Although this type of decision making is arguably less effective than the decision making set out above,it can at it’s very best only allow the decision maker to make the best of limited time and to decide on as many issues as possible.However,in order to make your decision making as effective as possible,be sure you know the following:

  • What exactly are you trying to decide?e.g
  • Which stage of problem solving are you in?
  • Whose decision is it exactly to make?(yours,a friend, colleague,a leader, organization, government, arbitrator or any other)
  • How will not taking this decision affect you particularly?
  • Do you have any interest in the issue you want to decide on?
  • Do you trust yourself to make a correct decision on such a matter?(what is your past record of making correct decisions?).In the opinion of the public can you be trusted to make a balanced and binding decision on the issue at hand? (where public is involved).
  • Does the issue you are trying to decide on involve another party/individual?
  • What rights or laws if any do you have or permits you to make a decision on such an issue?
  • Who needs to be involved in the decision making?(what authority and/or permissions is required?)
  • Is there need for an arbitrator?
  • How should they be involved?(directly,consulted, informed?)
  • When must you decide?

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What are the principles of good governance in an organization?

Board leadership -Every organization should be led and governed by an effective Board which collectively ensures the delivery of it’s objectives,sets it’s strategic direction and upholds it’s values.Every member of the board should understand his or her individual responsibility of being a board member, including the legal responsibilities.

The board in control -Your Board should be collectively responsible and accountable for ensuring that the organization is performing well, is solvent and complies with the obligations.It must conduct it’s affairs so that it complies with it’s legal obligations as well as other requirements of it’s environment.

Board review and renewal -The board should periodically review it’s own and the organization’s effectiveness.Reviewing the performance of the organization as a whole through performance indicators and external review is critical in effective organizations.Renewing the composition of the board is often a delicate and difficult issue,but a critical one.

Board delegation -The Board should set out the role and function of sub-commitees, the officers of the organization (chair, secretary general,vice president, Treasurer), the CEO and other staff and agents and should monitor their performance.This should entail:

  • Setting out clear and discrete roles;
  • Effective delegation and empowerment of responsibilities;
  • Setting out clear, unambiguous terms of reference wherever appropriate; and
  • Monitoring performance of the organization as a whole, the board, staff members and its sub-commitees.

Board and board member integrity -The board and its members should act according to high ethical standards and ensure that conflicts of interest are properly dealt with.There should be no personal benefit from business transacted by the Board.

Board openness -Your Board should be open, responsive and accountable to stakeholders, beneficiaries,partners and others with an interest in it’s work.

Adherence to statutes -The adage “You cannot get lost on a straight road” applies to the statutes of an organization.If they are out of date,they should be reviewed.However,once agreed,they should be strictly observed.

Good management practice -The development of strategic plans, operational plans, performance indicators, risk and financial management, marketing practices, human resource management and many other modern management practices all ensure that effective and efficient organizations are appropriately led by the board.

Good governance culture -While it is possible to tick the boxes on a “good governance”checklist,it is even more important that a culture of good governance pervades the organization and that you and your Board buy into this principle.

Good partnership model -A well run organization depends on a wholesome partnership between the board,led by the chair/president, and the team that runs the organization.Of key importance is the relationship between the chair and the person responsible for managing the organization i.e the general Secretary or CEO.

Organization board in a meeting

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How to evaluate new projects

Workers working on a project

The following are the criteria by which new projects,programmes and activities can be evaluated in order to assess their relative merit and if applicable to assist with the allocation of limited resources.

  • Is it consistent with the mission,goals and objectives of the organization?
  • Is it consistent with the organization’s by-laws and constitution?
  • Is it consistent with the policy statement?
  • Are sufficient human and material resources currently, likely to be or potentially available?
  • Is any other organization addressing or carrying out(or likely to address) the same activity or project?
  • Does it require the involvement or support of outside agencies (i.e fosters partnerships/collaboration)?
  • Is it oriented to national or regional interests?
  • Does it contribute to the organization’s needs?(future funding, current programmes, opportunities)
  • Does fall within the scope of an existing activity?
  • Does research or previous evaluation show this project/activity to have potential for significant impact?
  • Will the activity or project results be measurable?
  • What,if any are the consequences (positive/negative) of carrying out the project or activity?
  • What cost-effectiveness rating is likely to be achieveable?

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How to develop organization strategic plan

Members of the organization planning

The purpose of planning should be led by you,in consultation with your board and other stakeholders such as funding sources, the government and sponsors.You will be responsible for drafting plans that enable the expectations and desires of your stakeholders to be met.The following process may help:

  • Set timelines for completion of the plan.
  • Consult stakeholders about what they think the organization should do and what they want from it.
  • Draft the vision, values and mission statement in light of this information.
  • Carry out environment audits.
  • Draft organization profile, identifying strategic issues and questions related to:
    • Who we are
    • Where we are now
    • What we are currently doing
    • Why we are doing it
    • Where we want to be
    • Why we want to be there
    • How we get there and when
    • What we change and who does it
    • What it will take ,next steps
  • Establish strategic objectives
  • Establish a draft initial strategic plan (vision, values,mission, objectives) and proposed priorities for future action.
  • Undertake a second round of consultation with stakeholders and determine their input on priorities, resource allocation and criteria for evaluation.
  • Develop a final strategic plan.
  • Develop a 1-2 year operational plan that allows the strategic plan to be delivered.
  • Submit strategic and operational plans to the board for approval.

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How to tell whether you are managing the finances of your organization in a prudent manner

Managing money

The following questions can help you understand whether you are managing the finances of your organization in a prudent and sensible manner.

  • Where is your organization money kept?
  • What interest are you earning on it?
  • Is this the best place for your money?
  • Who has authority to withdraw money, how much and for what reasons?
  • What policy statements exist to guide levels and items of expenditure?
  • How do you report what was spent?
  • Who keeps the records?
  • Who checks the records?who audits your accounts?
  • What financial controls are in place in your organization?
  • How do you save on projected expenditure?For example:
  • Travel-look for accounts, group rates.
  • Accommodation-seek volume discounts,make arrangements with one hotel and use it whenever needed.
  • Seek donations of resources-e.g office space, office equipment, vehicles,fuel, insurance and clothing.Are there others?
  • How successful have your money management practices been in the past?
  • What do you need to improve?

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How to buget in a successful company

Budgeting

A budget is a plan for your programme expressed in financial terms.In order to create your budget you need to know how much money you have coming in, how much you are spending and how much money you should be spending.This requires you to identify the following:

  • Sources of revenue,or how much money will come in including in kind contributions.
  • The costs of the services your organization delivers.
  • Overhead costs including salaries,rent and electricity.
  • Any other costs, such as investment in equipment, maintenance,value in kind,volunteer benefits and payroll taxes.
  • Once you have the information , you can develop a budget, outlining areas where revenue will be spent.When calculating expenditure, remember to consider inflation or increases in costs such as fuel increases,or annual salary increases.Be careful not to over estimate the income and underestimate the expenditure.The last step is to get approval for your budget.In many organizations approval of the budget is done by the board.Be sure to avoid:
  • Spending resources without a budget.
  • Starting initiatives for which there is no budget alloted in the respective year.
  • Reallocating budget resources from one item to another because this shows a lack of financial control.
  • Asking funding sources for more resources because you did not estimate your budget accurately.
  • Multiplying charges to seek additional revenue by having more than one source cover any expenditure.Such as charging travel costs to both the club and federation.
  • Large price tag on miscellaneous/other items.
  • Large overhead budgets which include high salaries or unnecessarily high rent.

You should control expenditure of the budget with regular reporting on the differences between actual and budgeted results.This analysis helps you to:

  • Identify quickly whether things are going on as expected.
  • Identify where corrective action is required.
  • Review plans, policies and decisions in light of performance.
  • Revise budgets if necessary.
  • Plan and coordinate the use of resources.
  • Predict potential problems.

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How to manage organization finance.

One of the cornerstones of a successful organization is having a sound financial management.Everyone with financial responsibility must understand the following terms:Assets, Liability, Running costs, Surplus,Deficit,Liquidity,Reserves, Balance sheet, Income and expenditure statement, Capital expenditure, Operating expenditure.

Keeping accounts-Accounting is the process of tracking and cataloguing income and expenditure.It is also a key tool for financial control.You will need to keep accounts that show daily transactions as well as an overall picture of the financial workings of the organization.Accounts should show income and expenditure and keep track of assets and liabilities.A petty cash account should be opened and kept separately to account for the actual cash kept by the organization.

Financial statements -The two main documents that need to be be presented to the membership of the organization are balance sheet and the income and expenditure statement (or profit and loss account). Complementary documents may be required.These documents will give members a feel for the financial stability of the organization and as stated above are tools for financial control.

Balance sheet – Your balance sheet is the list of assets and liabilities your organization has at a given time.It sets out the fullest financial picture of your organization at a particular time and reading.The balance sheet must contain the following:

  • The final balances of the preceeding financial year.
  • Break down of the capital employed
  • Details of freeholds and leases.
  • Value of patents and trademarks
  • Valuation of fixed assets and how the figures we’re arrived at.
  • Details of any investments and their values.
  • Loans
  • Cash and debts
  • Stock and the basis of it’s valuation.
  • Total bank loans and overdrafts.

Income and expenditure statement This statement is an analysis of how the capital or net worth of your organization has changed over a given period.It is a record of income generated and expenditure incurred over this period.An income and expenditure account must show:

  • Turnover: total value of income that your organization receives during a particular period of time.
  • Income from rents and invest
  • Equipment hire charges
  • Depreciation charges and how they are arrived at.
  • Interest on loans
  • Tax charges (if applicable)
  • Transfer to and from reserves
  • Any exceptional accounting adjustments.

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