Sunday, February 12, 2012

Managing Priorities

Let's say that you've done the strategic planning, the buy-in meetings, and most everyone is on board. Everything is great--except, all of a sudden, your list of "Must Haves" is a lot longer than it was when just upper management was on board. Is that better or worse? Well, perhaps at first, this seems a lot more daunting than before--after all, upper management probably spent a lot of time aligning change with the in-place strategic plan. As other opinions were brought in, so were ideas that didn't fit under the original umbrella. So, the challenge comes from the discomfort that follows. 
At this point, administration has to be willing to consider moving staff priorities into the "Must Have" category.
There are a lot of ways to deal with the conflict of different ideas. Some organizations sweep the ideas under the rug, as if the opinions never existed. The ideas sit in the "Want" category until they die a slow and silent death. This creates more anger and distrust than if the opinions were never requested in the first place. I am suggesting that a more productive way to deal with these discrepancies is to continue to be open and honest throughout the entire process. If the budget is not there for a specific "Must Have," then be up front about that. Additionally, with grants, technology, and volunteers, it is sometimes possible to address staff needs in a creative way. Often, there are staff members who are more than willing to work with upper management to find inexpensive or out-of-the box solutions to the problem.

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