Tag Archives: #organization building

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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How to manage experts in your organization

As experts can often be expensive,it is important that you make the best use their expertise and time they have with your organization.The following will help you to manage expertise within your organization or company.

  • Be very clear about why you need an expert what it is you expect them to achieve.
  • Create a scope of work for the project and use this to recruit your expert.
  • Look for the best help possible.Ask others whom they have used in the past or seek advice from funding bodies on who they would recommend.
  • Decide how you will recruit; will you use a tender process or will you approach someone on the basis of information you have been given?
  • Consider setting up a contractual relationship with the expert you choose.This is essential if you are intending to pay for their expertise.
  • Have an agreed and set budget for the project and make sure this is communicated to your expert.
  • Agree what the final output should be and the form it should take e.g a marketing plan or a series of training sessions for specific workers , students or athletes.
  • Manage your expert to agreed deadlines and make sure that you provide all information and resources.

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Key communication types in organization management

Someone communicating

Communication can occur in a number of ways:

  • One way communication-This is the giving of information or direction.Immediate feedback is not requested or required.Communication in this category includes announcements,news releases and program information.One way communication must be phrased in simple, clear language and should be understandable,easily interpreted ,of interest to the reader and pertinent.The disadvantage of one way communication is that there is no way of knowing if the information was received or interpreted in the intended manner.
  • Two-way communication-In this instance, information is given and immediate feedback is requested or required.Communication in this category includes face to face contact,such as meetings and conferences, and written communiques requesting opinions.One advantage of this type of communication is that misunderstood issues can be cleared up immediately.You can give as little or as much information as is required and can adjust this on an individual basis.Facial and body language may clarify or enhance the message.This same body language may serve to create misinterpretation and you must be careful and consistent with your body and oral or written communication.
  • Listening-The ability to listen is also an essential communication tool,since it’s important to hear and understand the information that is being passed on,rather than just focusing on the words that are being said.If you can show that you are interested in what is being said and have heard and understood the message, the people communicating with you will be more satisfied.There are a number of ways to do this:
    • Maintaining appropriate eye contact with the person who is talking.
    • Encouraging the person to continue talking nodding or agreeing with what is being said.
    • Showing that you understand what the person feels.
    • Summarizing what has been said before answering as this will allow you to check that you have understood.
    • Not interrupting.

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How to manage risks in your organization.

In order to determine the degree of risk, you apply the formula:

Risk = Likelihood of something happening × Impact.

  • Each risk then needs to be quantified.
  • Managing the risk then involves selecting tools from the risk management armoury to prevent or minimise the risk by reducing the likelihood of it happening or it’s impact.
  • Insurance is one tool to reduce the impact of a risk.You can always explore from those offered by different insurance service providers and choose the package that most minimises the risk.
  • Another option is to accept the risk.This decision should be taken after careful assessment of the risk and the possible consequences of accepting it.
  • Although risk management is a responsibility of the Board,every organization should appoint a risk officer to take the lead in risk management.The risk officer should be responsible for preparing and updating a risk register.
  • The risk register will form the basis of the risk management strategy that is necessary for good governance.

A sample risk register

RiskLikelihood of riskPotential impactControl procedureMonitoring processOwnershipFurther actionDate of review
Reduction in funding from government.LowHighSetting and achieving required performance.Using performance indicators.You,BoardReport on performance to the Board every month.Every 3 months
Risk register
Finding out risks

Ways of reducing the risks that affect an organization

  • Having a risk management process to avoid some risks and to manage others properly.
  • Change the way the organization is governed to mitigate potential risks.When an organization is governed in a transparent and accountable way,many risks associated with public image, funding and stakeholder satisfaction can be avoided.
  • Change the strategic direction of the organization if necessary.
  • Reduce or expand services and change the way of operating to reduce risks e.g introducing the evaluation and control procedures can assist greatly with the management risk.
  • If there are significant risks facing the organization,it may be possible to take out insurance to cover the risk.For example insuring the officials and athletes in a sports organization against injury.

As with governance,the process of risk management should be transparent and communicated throughout the organization.The annual report should include an acknowledgement of the Board responsibilities,the process followed and a confirmation of the systems in place to control areas of major risk.In this we all stakeholders become comfortable with risk management of the organization.

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How to raise organization funds through public relations.

Public relations (PR) comprises a number of methods which you can use to communicate messages about the services you offer and the overall image of your organization to stakeholders and other interested members of the community.Public relations are not just about publicity,they are primarily concerned with creating a good image of the organization and ,if necessary, overcoming any negative information.

As part of your marketing activities, you should create a public relations strategy in order to improve or enhance your organization’s image in the eyes of your key stakeholders.The point of public relations is to make the public think favourably about your organization and what it does.It requires two way communication between your organization and your stakeholders in order to understand their behavior and attitude towards you.

A public relations drive

Public relations has three main goals;

  • To create, maintain and protect the organization’s reputation, enhance it’s prestige and present a favourable image.
  • To create good will for the organization.
  • To educate certain audiences about the organization.

Carrying out a public relations campaign

An effective public relations has six steps:

  1. It starts with analysis and research to identify all the relevant aspects of the situation in order to understand stakeholders and the key factors that influence their perceptions of your organization.
  2. An overall policy with respect to the campaign needs to be established in order to develop and subsequently evaluate the campaign.This involves defining goals and desired outcomes as well as the constraints, such as finance, under which the campaign will operate.
  3. Following this, you need to set out PR strategies and tactics.These need to be tailored to specific stakeholder groups.Commonly used public relations tools include online social media,news releases, media conferences, speaking engagements and community service programmes.
  4. The PR campaign is then put in place and communication begins with identified stakeholders.
  5. Following the campaign, you need to seek feedback from the targets of your campaign.How have they reacted to the public relations campaign?Are there some unexpected developments?
  6. In the final step, you should assess the programme and make any necessary adjustments.

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How to manage risks in your organization.

In order to determine the degree of risk, you apply the formula:

Risk = Likelihood of something happening × Impact.

  • Each risk then needs to be quantified.
  • Managing the risk then involves selecting tools from the risk management armoury to prevent or minimise the risk by reducing the likelihood of it happening or it’s impact.
  • Insurance is one tool to reduce the impact of a risk.You can always explore from those offered by different insurance service providers and choose the package that most minimises the risk.
  • Another option is to accept the risk.This decision should be taken after careful assessment of the risk and the possible consequences of accepting it.
  • Although risk management is a responsibility of the Board,every organization should appoint a risk officer to take the lead in risk management.The risk officer should be responsible for preparing and updating a risk register.
  • The risk register will form the basis of the risk management strategy that is necessary for good governance.

A sample risk register

RiskLikelihood of riskPotential impactControl procedureMonitoring processOwnershipFurther actionDate of review
Reduction in funding from government.LowHighSetting and achieving required performance.Using performance indicators.You,BoardReport on performance to the Board every month.Every 3 months
Risk register
Finding out risks

Ways of reducing the risks that affect an organization

  • Having a risk management process to avoid some risks and to manage others properly.
  • Change the way the organization is governed to mitigate potential risks.When an organization is governed in a transparent and accountable way,many risks associated with public image, funding and stakeholder satisfaction can be avoided.
  • Change the strategic direction of the organization if necessary.
  • Reduce or expand services and change the way of operating to reduce risks e.g introducing the evaluation and control procedures can assist greatly with the management risk.
  • If there are significant risks facing the organization,it may be possible to take out insurance to cover the risk.For example insuring the officials and athletes in a sports organization against injury.

As with governance,the process of risk management should be transparent and communicated throughout the organization.The annual report should include an acknowledgement of the Board responsibilities,the process followed and a confirmation of the systems in place to control areas of major risk.In this we all stakeholders become comfortable with risk management of the organization.

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Key communication types in organization management

Someone communicating

Communication can occur in a number of ways:

  • One way communication-This is the giving of information or direction.Immediate feedback is not requested or required.Communication in this category includes announcements,news releases and program information.One way communication must be phrased in simple, clear language and should be understandable,easily interpreted ,of interest to the reader and pertinent.The disadvantage of one way communication is that there is no way of knowing if the information was received or interpreted in the intended manner.
  • Two-way communication-In this instance, information is given and immediate feedback is requested or required.Communication in this category includes face to face contact,such as meetings and conferences, and written communiques requesting opinions.One advantage of this type of communication is that misunderstood issues can be cleared up immediately.You can give as little or as much information as is required and can adjust this on an individual basis.Facial and body language may clarify or enhance the message.This same body language may serve to create misinterpretation and you must be careful and consistent with your body and oral or written communication.
  • Listening-The ability to listen is also an essential communication tool,since it’s important to hear and understand the information that is being passed on,rather than just focusing on the words that are being said.If you can show that you are interested in what is being said and have heard and understood the message, the people communicating with you will be more satisfied.There are a number of ways to do this:
    • Maintaining appropriate eye contact with the person who is talking.
    • Encouraging the person to continue talking nodding or agreeing with what is being said.
    • Showing that you understand what the person feels.
    • Summarizing what has been said before answering as this will allow you to check that you have understood.
    • Not interrupting.

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How to evaluate your volunteer strategy.

Volunteers rescuing endangered animals

Consider the following questions when evaluating your use of volunteers:

  • What tasks are performed by volunteers?
  • Is there a coordinator to whom all volunteers report and who assumes full responsibility for them?
  • Are the goals, purposes and policies of the volunteer program stated in writing (e.g job descriptions)?
  • Is the volunteer program regularly planned,organized and revised with participation from the Board,staff,user and community groups,as necessary?
  • Are volunteers given a formal introduction to the organization as well as to their own roles to volunteers?
  • On the basis of what criteria are volunteers recruited and placed?
  • What training is provided to volunteers?
  • Does the organization maintain records on each volunteer?
  • What expense does the organization cover for volunteers (e.g transportation, child care)?
  • Are volunteers given individual performance evaluations?By whom?, When?
  • Do volunteers receive clerical support?Are work space and equipment allotted to them?

Critical areas to look into:

  • How good is your organization’s recruitment process?
  • Do you know if people are doing the jobs best suited to their skills?
  • How can the way you manage your people resource be improved?

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How to recruit volunteers for your organization

There is an ever increasing need for volunteers to assist within organizations. However at the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find volunteers due to pressures of time and income.This means that volunteers need to be managed as effectively as paid staff. Although volunteers are a relatively inexpensive resource,they do create some costs for the organization.

Volunteers at work

Reasons why people volunteer -some of the reasons people volunteer include:

  • Service to others-to put something back to society.
  • To gain work experience
  • Family involvement
  • Social reasons
  • Prestige and
  • To influence policy

You need to recognize these motives, consider them in light of the program requirements and place the volunteer in a situation that is beneficial to both the individual and the program.It is important that volunteers are asked why they participate in order to help determine how well their needs are being met.

consider your volunteer requirements on a regular basis taking into consideration what needs to be done in your organization.To do these it might be helpful to classify volunteers into three categories:

  • Administrative leadership- Volunteers recruited for this role should have skills to serve as executive board members, secretaries,treasurer’s or as committee members.
  • Technical leadership-volunteers must possess real knowledge and skills in the technical field that they are volunteering in.
  • Non-leadership services-There is always a need for volunteers in a non-leadership capacity.Volunteers who could fill these roles are those who do not have technical qualifications or the time for prolonged commitment.

Try to much your volunteers with the specific requirements of the work to be done.Some criteria to consider are:

  • Short term vs. long term-How long do you need your volunteers to commit for?
  • Intense vs.relaxed-Does the job allow the individual to work at a leisurely pace or does it involve tough decisions,tight deadlines or constant attention?
  • Responsible vs.non-responsible -Does the job require an individual who will be highly accountable or responsible for programs or does it involve little accountability?

No matter how you plan to use volunteers,they should all understand and promote the objectives of the program.This will involve specific effort on your part to communicate the program’s objectives before a volunteer commits to it.

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How to plan for training in an organization

Training could be formal, such as an organized course carried out by an expert,or informal, which relies on practical experience such as on the job experience.We always think that formal training is more valuable as it is delivered by an expert.However this type of training tends to deliver information,but not practical skills.In order to get the most out of a training, you should try and make it as practical as possible.For example,an organization could hold briefing sessions on various topics led by different people working in the organization.

A set training venue

Preparation of a training plan should cover the following:

  • The objectives of the training-what is to be achieved.
  • The population to be trained-who is to be involved, such as the Executive Board.
  • The choice of training methods-How the training will be delivered, such as attending courses.
  • How the success of the training will be measured.
  • The evaluation of the training.

Evaluating the training plan

The training plan needs to be evaluated against the established objectives.Without this evaluation the effectiveness of the training cannot be assessed.There are three levels at which evaluation can be carried out:

  • Acquired skills and knowledge-Have the required skills been learnt?
  • Applied practice-Have the skills been put into practice?
  • Impact on the organization-Have the acquired skills made the organization to function more effectively?

The success of the training should be demonstrated by improvements in both individual and organizational performance.

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