Face it, you’ve been there and really don’t want to see it again.  But unfortunately you know it’s bound to happen and keep on happening.  You are part of a leadership or management group.  You are all volunteers who by virtue of your residence, membership, job or even family affiliation are part of the team responsible to lead or manage your group.   At your monthly meetings you meet for one or two or three hours and spend copious amounts of time and energy discussing, debating, and deliberating only to leave at the end of the meeting feeling like you accomplished nothing at the end of it all.

Like individuals,  organizations need to make “to do” lists for themselves.  The group should sit down every 4-6 months to create and revise it’s “to do” list and when it meets monthly, it reports on it’s progress.  Why make a list like that?

1.  because it focuses the group to the tasks on hand.  If you don’t make choices, the number of options is overwhelming and paralyzing.  Choose 3 or 4.

2.  because it helps the group realize what it “can’t” do…whether  right now, or ever.  Given so many things to do some things have to wait.

3. because it clarifies the importance and value of the leadership/management group to itself.  If you know what you are doing, you feel better about what you do.  If you don’t know what you are doing…

4.  because it heightens the value of the leadership/management group to the constituents.  If they have an idea you are up to something, and an awareness of what it will take and when, chances are they’ll give you a little more respect.  Maybe not 100% respect, but a little more.

5.  because it gives you something to evaluate and monitor on a regular basis.   Each month you can track where you are in the project and why.

6.  because it identifies not only “what” needs to be done, but usually also identifies “who” needs to do it.

I recently sat with a group  overwhelmed with the immensity of the challenge of leading their organization.  They were all volunteers with a deep sense of responsibility for the task.  But they were paralyzed with all that needed to be done and the limitations they felt from a resources standpoint.  (not enough money, not enough volunteers, not enough expertise).  In the space of about 120 minutes we identified 4 things that they could get done in the next 120 days—a meeting area could be painted, a program could be initiated, a comunication piece could go out monthly, and an individual could be recognized for his work in an area with a special acknowledgement of his accomplishments during one of their public gatherings (not quite a fete, but a few minutes of recognition).  They left the meeting elated knowing what they were going to do, who was going to do it, and when it was all going to happen.  Beauty.

What’s your experience with a group?  What do you see as the top 3 or 4 things to focus on?