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How to Magnify Weaknesses to Compound Strengths

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Linkedin Take action to create a more efficient organization over time. getty During my decades of experience in the field of organ donation and transplantation, I’ve come to understand the critical importance of addressing areas of weakness and intentionally leveraging them to drive positive change within an organization. I’ve served as the CEO of Nevada Donor Network (NDN) for over 12 years and have made it my life’s work to make NDN one of the top-performing organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the world. As an essential part of the life-saving organ transplant process, OPOs must be expertly run to honor as many heroic donors as possible and to serve those who desperately need transplants. It is literally a matter of life and death. Today, we’ll look at what it means to identify your weaknesses and take action to create a more efficient organization over time. Step 1: Decide to Do Something Radically Different No one ever improved by staying the same. It might sound obvious, but the very first step in the improvement process is simply to admit that how things are is not how you want them to be. This is the beginning of creating meaningful change. Step 2: Survey the Issues With Brutal Honesty Now that you’ve admitted there’s room for improvement, it’s time to find your specific areas of weakness. There will be obvious things that need improvement, but I encourage you to dig deeper than that. MORE FOR YOU Netflix: Marvel Dud Among Movies New On Streaming Service This Week Houston Rockets Land Third Pack In Upcoming NBA Draft As Knicks And Rangers Captivate New York, The Yankees Quietly Roll Along Cast a wide net when looking for your weak spots. I advocate for utilizing inclusive feedback to get a holistic view of an organization. Survey those who use the processes regularly. They will know what needs addressing better than the higher-ups who aren’t on the ground every day. Consider all stakeholders when sniffing out weaknesses, and don’t forget to include some of your loudest critics. As uncomfortable as it is to hear harsh judgments, they usually contain some of the most pertinent information. Outline each issue in detail and ask for enough clarity to craft an effective solution. Step 3. Identify the Solutions Now that your shortcomings have been identified, it’s time to find ways to improve. The actions needed to turn a deficiency into a strength vary endlessly from company to company. While looking at case studies from similar organizations can be helpful, remember that your way forward will be tailored to your unique needs. As you’re thinking about potential solutions, keep in mind the following: An organization’s core purpose should be nurtured throughout all departments and processes. How can an area of weakness be changed to better support your purpose? Imagine the perfect outcome. What must change to make that possible? Creating strong points from shortcomings doesn’t happen overnight. If the problem seems insurmountable, be patient. Even making a plan to implement small changes helps push things in the right direction. Lastly, leave room for solutions to evolve. Reversing organizational weak spots is a steep learning curve. None of us can get it right the first time, every time. Step 4: Plan and Execute With potential solutions identified, it’s time to make a corrective action plan (CAP) and execute it. Of course, you can only do this with the cooperation and support of your workforce. Real change can’t happen without widespread buy-in. Don’t expect anyone to mind-read or even read between the lines. Communication regarding CAPs for deficient areas should be overt. Employees need to understand the end goal, the importance of achieving it, the necessary steps it will take to get there, and their part in making that happen. Step 5: Measurability Is Key Whatever CAPs you decide on, you must also collect metrics to be able to gauge effectiveness. You don’t want to just feel like things are improving. Concrete data is necessary to advise whether your efforts are moving the needle or not. Additionally, documentation guidelines should be strict. The consistency and accuracy with which data is collected is of paramount importance—bad data in, bad data out. Your ability to analyze results accurately relies on these metrics. At NDN, we require rigid adherence to collecting CAP metrics to measure improvement. Maintenance Phase As I mentioned earlier, your first plan is rarely flawless. Check in often to adjust your course and recognize progress. By regularly analyzing CAP data, you should be able to see if the changes being made are missing the mark or having the intended effects. When things are working, don’t forget to celebrate small wins with those who are making it possible. Follow me on LinkedIn. Joe Ferreira Editorial Standards Print Reprints & Permissions

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