Spring Anew! A Time for New Networks and New Relationships
Spring is finally here! (Or almost here for those of us who live in in the northeast US). We may still get a few snowflakes, but the crocuses have bloomed and the daffodils and forsythia are beginning to add color to the brown branches that have been dormant through the cold and snowy winter. Spring is a time for rebirth and renewal and provides an opportunity to “reimagine” the future. For many, rethinking how (and where) work is done is an immediate imperative – and a key component for sustainability moving forward, because the workforce has changed and will continue to change. Developing new networks and new relationships, both internally and externally, are important strategies right now and will be a critical factor in future success.
Grappling with questions like “what does work look like for us in the post-pandemic world?” and “where and how do we find the workforce that we need to meet our mission?” raises the importance of organizational design as a key element in the planning process and adds new dimensions to the key questions that must be explored. Future success will include “challenging our assumptions” and developing new operating models, because the old ones no longer work.
How do you get started?
1. Start with team - Pull your team together and take some time to think through “what success looks like” now and into the future for the team as you focus on your mission. Questions to explore include:
a. What is the work process flow that we must follow to achieve our mission?
b. How much of our work is “activity” based versus “location” based (i.e. who needs to be physically in a particular location and how often?)
c. What is/are the “best” location(s) for our work?
d. How do we interface with each other to ensure seamless transitions in our work and meaningfully support one another?
e. What additional supports are needed to ensure success?
2. Analyze gaps and needs – Look at what you are currently experiencing:
a. What knowledge, skills and abilities does our team and/or organization overall need to be successful?
b. What are our “space” needs (really)?
c. What organizational functions could we share/consolidate to help us and others leverage staff and resources?
3. Identify potential partners and/or collaborators – Challenge your assumptions about where and how you may find additional resources:
a. What functions and/or tasks can be outsourced to subject matter experts that can provide support?
b. Who does similar things where staff can be shared and/or leveraged?
c. Who shares similar missions and/or core values that we could build upon existing relationships in new/different ways?
Taking time to stop and reflect on these questions can bear great fruit to identify new ideas and ways to approach your future work. This is worth investing in, even if you feel you are too busy to take time off. Sometimes an outside facilitator can help you think through these questions and challenge your assumptions in ways that are difficult to do on your own. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need some support – we are here to help!