Starting out fine… & finishing well

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I’m a firm believer in planning and starting out new projects or years with the end in mind. At this time of year, people are usually thinking more about last December than next. Finishing off the previous year’s accounts and reports – and yet, realising what was stressful and ensuring that you don’t repeat any problems is a good use of that review.

On the MBS resources tab are two spreadsheets – one for AM clerks and one for Premises committees, both have the same remit. By calendarising regular tasks and agenda items you ensure they don’t fall by the wayside but also to free up some memory – you no longer need to worry or think about these as you know they are safely recorded. It is a simple form of corporate memory, and a useful piece of evidence of good governance and maintenance if things go wrong.

This is also the time of year that new members of committees arrive, is there an onboarding pack or do you just presume they will learn everything through osmosis? You don’t want to overload them – handing over the Operations Manual may be a bit much, but a summary document, or a copy of that agenda calendar mentioned above, to give them an idea of what they’ll be tackling over the next year can be useful.

Onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, is management jargon first created in the 1970s that refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors in order to become effective organizational members and insiders.

Wikipedia

It’s also worth the committee taking some time to consider where they’d like to be January 2021. Are there projects you want to be ready to start? Or ones you hope to finish? Deciding to create some of the corporate memory documentation, doing a data audit, a building tour, sending members to a conference or on a training course are all things that might be on your list.

Looking back at 2019 (or earlier) what do you know you don’t want to do? Where did things go wrong, or what mistakes were avoided? Have you written down any lessons learned? Amended or created policies to help prevent a repeat where necessary?

A good place to start is to read through last year’s agendas and minutes, useful for creating an annual report if you haven’t already. Grabbing a drink and making notes as you go along – perhaps as part of the introduction to any new members can help reveal patterns and gaps.

  • Do you have a plan for this year?
  • What would ‘successful’ look like?
  • What simple thing can you decide to do (or not do!) this month that helps set you up for a successful year ahead?