Tips, Videos, Handouts

Let things die

Good Group Tips

In principle, groups can spend a lot of time and energy keeping ideas and projects artificially alive. We are all familiar with the agenda item that keeps coming up over and over again but that no one seems to have energy for; or the committee for which energy is fading, attendance is waning, and discussion becomes mostly about process rather than substance. Putting energy into dying things distracts attention from helping other things grow.

That things die is okay. The wonderful thing about dying is that it leads to new life. When things die, the energy goes to other places. Letting things die fertilizes new creativity.

Practical Tip: Make deliberate decisions about what you want to help grow and what you want to let die. Chasing instincts to save everything is inefficient. If a committee or project of your group is dying and it is not something that you care about or have optimism around, don’t put energy into keeping it alive.

Plan for dying. Create committees with sunset provisions that require them to die automatically if no one moves to save them, rather than that they live automatically if no one moves to kill them.

When dying things bring sadness, that’s okay too. Work to turn those emotions into new resolve for growth and creation of new things.

– Craig Freshley

Click here for one-page PDF of this Tip, a great way to print or share.

Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.

Measure to manage

Good Group Tips

In principle, to manage any activity—to know what to do more of, less of, and what to do differently—we need to be able to measure it. We ask, “How is it going?” And to measure any activity we need a measuring stick, something against which to compare.

Some call it “benchmarking,” where progress is compared to:

1. A reference group of similar activities or organizations (like an average or median),

2. One’s own past performance (like how you did last year, or over the past several years), or,

3. A quantifiable goal (like a fundraising thermometer/sign posted in front of the building).

Without anything to compare against, we cannot actually say anything about the success of an activity or how to manage it for greater success.

Practical Tip: When your group decides on a new activity or policy, decide also how you will know if it is successful. Set a goal. Be specific. Write it in such a way that you will be able to know if you achieved it. If possible, state the goal relative to the performance of other similar groups or activities, or relative to your own group’s past performance.

Measuring progress not only helps you manage future activities, it encourages better performance.

– Craig Freshley

Click here for one-page PDF of this Tip, a great way to print or share.

Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.

Hands off

Good Group Tips

In principle, high-functioning leadership groups are “hands on” regarding the tasks they are supposed to do and the decisions they are supposed to make. They also understand what tasks and decisions they should keep their hands off. High-functioning leaders delegate responsibility to committees or individuals and then stand aside to let them do their job in their own way with their own creative spirit.

Practical Tip: Before your group takes up an issue, ask “Should we be handling this?” Don’t spend unnecessary time on things you have already decided to let others handle. When you give responsibility to others, it helps when the expectations are written and clearly understood.

Good leaders facilitate rather than micro-manage. A mark of a good leader is that their followers become good leaders. Facilitative leaders clarify expectations, offer encouragement, demonstrate exemplary behavior, and let go.

Put the Tips in action for your group. Click here to learn about Craig’s Keynotes and Seminars.