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  • Writer's pictureKeith Jeffrey

How Cultural Professionals do more with less.. Part 1

Running a cultural organisation has never been tougher. The number 1 issue (in fact the only issue) now is of managing within ever constricting resources.

These blogs at the 5 areas that are under your control. Mastering these areas will help you manage ever constricting resources and enable you to “Do more with less”

The 5 areas are:

1. Clarity

2. Managing time

3. Managing you

4. Managing others

5. Growing the pot


“Hi, could you take a look at this please?”

How many times have you made a request like this?

Are you asking for feedback? What on? Or are you really asking for approval?

It’s important to realise that at this point the idea has stopped developing. Responsibility now sits with the person who has received the proposal.

So let’s say you are the one who has received the request, what do you do with it?

What if you’re busy? What if you simply haven’t got the time to look at the document, consider it and then respond?

But you want to be supportive so you make time. But when? You’re busy, it’s not your top priority. Maybe next week.

So you review it in the next week. You make some suggestions and then send them back. But have you approved it? What does that person do with your feedback? Is it understood let alone acted upon?

And still the proposal is on hold.

How about doing it like this?

“Hi, this is the plan I’ve produced which I need approval for by Friday. It’s all within budget and is based on our previous discussions. If I don’t hear anything then I’ll assume it’s ok.”

The request is clear. Approve or not approve. If it’s out of wack then it can be halted. If it's imperfect there is a chance to intervene. It also requires a proper discussion beforehand.

Sounds easy and of course it is anything but. Serious groundwork needs to be put in place to build the trust which underlines great communication.

Here are some steps you might take to get this clarity of communication in place:

1. Understand the difference between a strategic and operational activity and clarify with the team

2. Set out criteria for the following:

- Making a Yes/No decision

- When is approval needed

- Asking for input and specifically where

3. Set up planning/discussion opportunities which are focused on achieving clarity over what is required.

4. Set timescales for responses which imply approval

5. Clarify budget approval limits so a team member can go ahead without your approval

6. Agree procedures for what happens when you say no

7. Clarify decision making lines.

There is a lot in here, I recognise I’m skimming the surface but as an issue it really is worth thinking about.

Better use of time, faster more effective decision making based on Clarity could save you plenty.

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