To be successful in the 21st Century, we have to become comfortable with ambiguity and contradiction.
We must learn to reframe our questions and rise above conventional mental models. We have to embrace experimentation and try new things.
We have to adopt strategies that encourage us to abandon ingrained, comfortable ideas and employ new ones that may feel unfamiliar. We have to disregard traditional assumptions and open ourselves to new paradigms. Ultimately, we must take steps to minimize and prevent accrual of conference organizational debt.
Seven Ways To Refactor Organizational Debt
To thrive and advance, leaders should address organizational debt head on by fostering adaptive, agile practices. Here are seven ways to refactor your conference organizational debt.
1. Focus On The Big Picture
Most of us mistake busyness as productivity. We focus on the minutia, the small steps or detailed tasks. We often sacrifice effectiveness for efficiency. We must keep our attention on the goal and big picture in order to add value for our customers. Some steps are nice and unnecessary. We have to utilize the habit of evaluating the need of each step and simplify our implementation as much as possible.
2. Foster And Model Good Change Management Techniques
When embracing new practices or procedures, leaders should work out loud, modeling their adoption of good change management techniques. Similarly, leaders should create an atmosphere that fosters ongoing, purposeful change. This includes cultivating a safe space where failure is seen as part of the change management process.
3. Adopt A Culture Of Experimentation
Encourage team members to embrace their imagination as much as they do their logic. Urge experimentation and tweaking especially the simplification of unnecessary processes and procedures.
4. Exploit The Practice Of Purposeful Abandonment
Abandon all but tomorrow argued management guru Peter Drucker. We have to abandon the past to favor the future.
Most leaders and staff resist abandonment. It runs counter to what we’ve been taught to grow revenues at all cost. We consider growth, both top- and bottom-line the lifeblood of the company. Abandoning any product or service appears to shrink sales and profits.
(Abandoning products of services because it shrinks profits)…is an incorrect perception stressed Peter Drucker. It’s necessary to evolve and grow.
As an example, think of your conference bag full of inserts, giveaways, freebies and tchotchkes. These inserts are small revenue generators and labor intensive. Yet most conference attendees trash them.
5. Employ A Growth Policy That Focus On What To Abandon
Drucker stressed that all organizations should have a growth policy to decide where and how to grow. Your conference leadership needs to decide what to abandon which means abolishing out-grown, obsolete and unproductive strategies. Too many leaders hold on to yesterday’s success and processes too long. This is especially true in conferences where advisory committees stick with past successful strategies until it’s too late.
6. Launch A Bounty Program To Find A Better Way
Companies like Google, Microsoft and GE utilize bounty programs to identify and abandon organizational debt. These programs encourage and reward employees to identify processes and procedures that are hindering their ability to deliver value to their customers. Then encourage them to find a better way. Support inquisitive, curious, creative pursuits of improvement.
Improvement and abandonment are two sides of the same coin said Drucker. We must abandon what works less and maintain what works better.
7. Don’t Rush To Create New Policies Or Rules
Our natural instinct is to create a role and rule for everything. When something goes amiss, we want to create a rule to keep it from occurring in the future. We can simplify our structures and empower people to do the right thing. One incident is just that…one incident. Don’t overreact. Let the culture learn.
What are some additional ways you’ve found to refactor conference organizational debt? How will you convince your leadership to adopt some of these ways to refactor conference organizational debt?