There are countless sources available today that provide advice on what to do to run a successful organization.
Here is a list of 10 things NOT to do that can be just as important:
1. Don’t start without a plan. Strategy is critical. What is your mission? What is your vision? What are your goals? “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra
2. Don’t keep doing the same things just because you’ve always done them. All businesses operate in a dynamic environment. The only constant is change. Periodically review your operation to see what you can stop doing to save resources (time, money, focus) that can be better invested elsewhere. Nothing is permanent. Let go. Evolve.
3. Don’t make critical decisions without first collaborating with your team. They will add unique knowledge, diversity, experience, viewpoints, insights and ideas that can help you make better decisions. Your team is your biggest asset. You’re all in this together.
4. Don’t fear failure. It comes with taking risks, which is necessary for growth and change. We gain wisdom through failure. We gain strength of character by successfully overcoming failure. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy
5. Don’t risk your organization’s reputation, or brand. It can take years to build and seconds to destroy. Protect it at all costs. Develop a culture of integrity.
6. Don’t do what everyone else does. Be different. Be unique. Be original. Be innovative. Step out of line. Think outside the box. “Conformity is that jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” –John F. Kennedy
7. Don’t procrastinate. If you want to accomplish something, start doing it now. Follow through. Spending time thinking about what you should be doing is a waste of time. “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.” – Dale Carnegie
8. Don’t quit. Be persistent. Be optimistic. Make your mistakes then move on. Don’t get discouraged. “Being defeated is only a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.” – Marilyn vos Savant
9. Don’t forget the cake. A lot of effort goes into running a successful organization. Take time to pause and celebrate the wins, great and small. Make time to show appreciation for your team, your customers, your suppliers, your mentors, and your family.
And finally, to end with an earworm:
10. Don’t Stop Believin’– Journey.
Tom Henz is an adjunct professor at USCB, as well as director and facilitator of the school’s Center for Strategic Planning. uscb.edu/csp