It's still early January - still time to make some New Year Resolutions!
At the moment, you are probably categorising 2021 in the same category as 2020 - a year that was a bit of a non-starter. But as vaccinations start to gain momentum we need to look forward to a better year in 2022 and keep our eye on the ball.
So, what kind of New Year Resolutions?
Well, in this quiet time of the year, it's a good time to reflect on what your organisation is facing, and look for some key "hot spots" that you either need to make plans to fix and strengthen, or look to see how you can take advantage of.
To get you started, here are some common "hot spots" we find during our work with Indigenous organisations.
I know, sometimes, you feel "governanced-out"!
People ask you about your governance, some complain, others are confused. You have organised governance training, completed workshops, carried out inductions for incoming Directors.
But it is such a critical component of keeping your organisation efficient and relevant, and to be honest "out of trouble" that it needs more careful thinking.
"Governance" is not just about understanding the legislation or training the Directors. Best-practice governance is about finding a way that works to ensure your Directors work with the corporation to the benefit of the corporation in order to provide the benefit to the community and stakeholders. This means it's not just knowledge but a system of working.
How are decisions made, and is the way they are made not only legally but also culturally sound? Are there long-term plans to focus your day-to-day work and avoid the year-by-year shifts in direction? Do you have appropriate structures in place to monitor the corporation's activities by and for the Directors who represent the stakeholders? Is there a system of authority and delegation that smoothly follows from the Board to Management?
Make a New Year Resolution to find out about a holistic system of governance that will improve your work. Click here to get our free report on improving governance structures and processes in Indigenous corporations.
Indigenous organisations seem to be planning all the time. And some of these plans don't seem to have any basis on what happens on the ground immediately after. You may have had a plan to move forward in one direction, but after a few years, after changes in staff, after some crisis or other, you look back and seem to be nowhere you wanted to be.
It is important to understand the cyclic and cascading nature of really effective planning.
First, you need to prepare a properly researched and focused long-term strategic plan looking ahead about 5 years. This is not a predictive type of plan (because you can't really predict what can and won't happen over that long a term) but rather a plan that forecasts what might happen and what choices you choose to make now.
Your Strategic Plan should examine where you want to go, where you are now, then identify and bridge the gaps. It sets the long-term context for your work.
The Strategic Plan then "cascades" from recognising shorter timeframe "milestones" and using them in annual Business Plans. These deal with the goals and objectives over the next 12 months, that form the milestones of the greater strategy. Business Plans are more prescriptive because you can better predict what will happen and what you will do.
These annual Business Plans help your program units to prepare Operational Plans to map out what each of them will do within the big picture to get to those annual milestones.
At the end of each year, you review your situation, look at the Strategic Plan to identify next year's milestones and prepare next year's Business and Operational Plans.
Toward the end of the first 5-year cycle, you prepare your next 5-Year Strategic Plan, repeating the same processes with new input and analysing the outcomes achieved.
Make a New Year Resolution to find out more about Strategic Planning - get our free report on the 10 Steps to Prepare Your Strategic Plan.
However, for an incredible $10 only, you can buy our 45-page Whitepaper on Strategic Planning for Indigenous Organisations which is packed full of information especially written for Indigenous Organisations discussing the importance of planning, the Planning Cycle, and full details of the six-stage 18-step process of preparing your own Strategic Plan.
Risk Management Planning
Find an Indigenous organisation that does not face risk.
Some of the risks that you find your organisation face may be small risks that, if they happen, will cause more work and inefficiency. However, some of the risks that you are thinking of could be catastrophic and end the organisation altogether, right?
Well, it's time to do something about it instead of ignoring it and hoping it will not happen.
You can plan for the risk happening, and it is called a Risk Management Plan.
First, you identify all the risks that threaten your organisation from small to large. These could be strategic risks like changes to Government policy or worldwide pandemics, or they could be operational risks like injury, computer failure or key-staff illness.
Then you analyse the risks to categorise them according to their effect (is it minor or catastrophic or something in between?) as well as to their likelihood (a "once in a hundred-year flood" or a very likely accident at the worksite?)
Once you have analysed the risks, you can then create four different types of strategies to either manage them or mitigate them if they took place. You can either take immediate action, or rigorously manage and monitor, or manage and monitor at a distance, or accept but monitor.
A good Risk management Plan also includes systems to train people on what to do if something happens, a communications plan to mitigate reputational risk, as well as disaster plans that roll out if these happen.
Make a New Year Resolution to learn more about Risk Management Planning. Get our FREE Whitepaper on understanding and managing risks in Indigenous organisations here.
Of course, if you already know about Risk Management Plans but you're just not sure how to start, we have a step-by-step online program that takes you through the step-by-step process of preparing your own Risk Management Plan, complete with the right forms, templates and documents, and you can learn more about it here.
Understand the Context Better
Not that I'm saying that if you read this, you are inexperienced or do not understand the context of what you are doing.
Indeed, most of our readers are experienced managers and have been involved in managing Indigenous organisations for a long time.
However, it is always a good idea to "keep in touch". What else is out there? What new tools might we not be familiar with? What else can I learn to broaden my knowledge and become better at what I do?
The art is to continuously improve and not rest on our laurels.
Make a New Year Resolution to keep improving.
We have a variety of other free tools and resources that you can take advantage of, download and read and learn in the privacy of your own time. You can see what's available here.
In particular, I recommend our free and information-packed report called The Building Blocks of Organisational Resilience, which you can get here for free.
So there you have it - four key "hot spots" for any Indigenous organisation.
Make your New Year Resolutions to improve in these areas and make your organisation resilient and strong.
Have a happy New Year!