3 Key Questions to Ask to Avoid a Plateauing Organization

Drew is a Development Officer at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina and is in the process of obtaining a Doctor of Education degree. He and his wife, Hannah, have a one year old boy named Reece. You can follow him on Twitter at @jadavis3.

Growing an organization can be difficult and frustrating, especially if you feel like it is constantly starting from scratch and not gaining any traction. The best ways to grow a team and organization are founded in knowing who you are, where you want to go, and what you need to do right now.

  1. Who are you? This is a critical question to answer both as an individual and as an organization. Having a clear mission statement and values helps direct your organization and team members in the day-to-day work that may seem monotonous and cumbersome. Knowing what you are striving towards helps bring renewed purpose to the daily routine. It is especially critical for new members to have a clear understanding of who you are as an organization. The faster they can be brought up to speed, the faster you can grow. Providing new members a comprehensive packet that includes items such as organization charts, key contacts, and job task instructions, helps reduce the amount of time spent in training and increases the amount of time spent as self-sufficient team members.
  1. Where do you want to go? Organizational assessment and celebration serves the purpose of setting SMART goals as you chart out a course for the future. Setting goals for your organization helps you stay focused and prevents short-term obstacles from inhibiting your long-term objectives. As your organization grows you will also need your team members to grow with it. Encouraging your team members to be lifelong learners and allocating resources for professional development is essential to a thriving organization. If the budget is tight consider implementing cross-training or departmental internships where your team members have the opportunity to grow their knowledge base and expand their expertise.
  1. What do you need to do right now? So now your team members are being fully oriented to the organization and given opportunities to develop. But is this orientation and development leading to indoctrination and stagnation or innovation and growth? Creating a culture and processes where each team member is encouraged to challenge assumptions, ask “why” questions, and propose new ideas is crucial to organizational growth. Team members should try to set a goal of doing just one more thing each day than what is currently listed on their “Duties & Responsibilities” section of their Job Description. The “Other Duties as Assigned” line item should be interpreted as an open invitation each day to Assign something to yourself and do just a little bit more than the day before.

These three keys require constant self-assessment, ongoing learning and development, and proactive planning. Utilizing some of these practical applications can help you and your organization find long-term growth and success and avoid what Yogi Berra would call “déjà vu all over again”.

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