I want to share a story with you.
The summer I turned 14 years old, my dad decided he was going to designate the task of cleaning windows to me. I was to go around the entire house and clean every window from the inside of the house. He would clean them from the outside.
So, I began. Mind you, by age 14 I had pretty much everything figured out, especially when it came to cleaning our house. I had a solid 5 years of experience cleaning our house. I got a rag, I got glass cleaner and I started cleaning. I imagined sparkling windows and my dad giving me huge praise for doing such a stupendous job. Instead, I got streaks. I got white spots and lots of fuzz from my rag. The windows were getting clean, but the results I wanted were no where to be found. While I cleaned and went from window to window, my dad kept telling me to use newspaper instead of a rag. I rolled my eyes every time. I thought to myself, "how in the heck would newspaper do the job better than a rag? He must be making it up. There goes dad again, trying to tell me how to do everything HIS way." I certainly did not need anyone telling me how to clean, of all things...
Have you ever been witness to a firefly show? I grew up in the Midwest and it's an understatement to say I am fascinated by fireflies. It is much more accurate to claim that I am obsessed.
Fireflies are cool for many reasons. I have studied fireflies informally for many years. From learning about their behavior to the energy efficient light they give off. That light is now being studied formally at UC Berkeley to see if they can recreate it.
It is the light that draws us to the firefly. That subtle, consistent blinking light is the way this little bug communicates with other fireflies. If you've had the pleasure of witnessing them, it is a beautiful, subtle, dance of survival for this species. They NEED to attract other fireflies in order to mate and continue their species through time. This communication is delivered with precision and when done right, a whole community of fireflies will blink their light in unison, as if proclaiming..."I've got your back, I'm here for you, You are not alone." It's quite inspiring. I realized when I was forming my business almost 11 years ago, that fireflies shaped my philosophy on communication and marketing hence the namesake Firefly Strategies. They communicate strategically and here's what I learned....
When we plan, whether it's a personal plan, a business marketing plan, or a non profit development plan, we assume we are going to be successful. We work hard to make sure the plan will lead us to success. But, there are many things that can cause delays and even derail us from our end goals and outcomes. But, most plans do not have a crisis component built into it. That is a mistake because ANYTHING could go wrong, I've seen some of the best laid plans fail miserably because something went wrong.
When a crisis occurs you might be able to maintain it internally without news leaking to the public, but more often than not, the public finds out. So, plan for the plan failing, plan for a crisis and plan that the news will go public. Here are 3 things you must do when managing this kind of crisis....
Not too long ago, I was struggling to keep my head above water, trying to manage and do WAY too much. Unfortunately, this predicament isn't something that happens to me only. In fact, I know MANY businesses, organizations and individuals that have or currently are incredibly stressed out and exhausted due to juggling too many roles, hats, or whatever you label all of your work and personal life responsibilities.
I know that sometimes there just isn't a way out of it. Hiring someone is just not feasible. There's no time to recruit an intern, and volunteers, though great, just don't have the skills to do what you need done.
So what CAN you do when you are on the verge of "drowning?" You create systems. If you had systems in place, you would eliminate quite a bit of time explaining things, and doing work from scratch, or I'm even guilty of this, doing something totally different from before because I forgot how I did it last. Also, when systems are in place, then you do feel comfortable hiring someone and recruiting an intern or volunteer. You and they know exactly what needs to happen, what they need to be accomplishing. There is less time spent in training and orientation because documented systems can serve as training material. So here are the top 3 systems I recommend you put into place as soon as you can...