Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 6th 2013 Contents B3
Tuesday, August 6, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Taking control of your accountabilities
Once you understand what you re
trying to achieve, you need to think
about what could go wrong. How could
your organisation let people down, and
what would the consequences be?
Conduct a risk analysis identify
potential problems and their conse-
quences. This exercise can be time-
consuming as you ll need to dig deep
into potential issues, but it will yield
By considering all levels of risk, you ll
also gain a good grasp of the many dif-
ferent roles and processes within your
organisation, as well as the potential
risks involved in each.
Understand Key Stakehold-
Who holds the real power over your
organisation? Who does it serve? Who
controls the resources that you need,
and how do they make decisions? Con-
duct a stakeholder analysis to identify
the people whose views matter most,
so that you can find out "what makes
Do your best to forge meaningful
connections with these people, early
on. If you can, call or meet them before
your first day and ask for an open con-
What is their experience with your
organisation, and what issues are they
most concerned about?
In particular, talk to key internal and
external clients. What problems are they
facing? What s working well? These
early conversations will help you identify
problems that you may need to address
Understand Processes, Val-
ues, Culture, and Manage-
Next, conduct a thorough review of
your organisation. This is likely to be
a substantial project, and you may need
to assign members of your team
to help you with it. Your aim is to
get a full picture of how your
organisation s processes, people,
culture, values, and management
structure help or hinder its ability
to deliver what your customers
Then explore the key functions
of your organisation in detail. Look
at roles and responsibilities, work
flows, information and budget
management processes, and ongo-
Look for evidence that proce-
dures are being followed---and that
they re working.
Culture and values also play a
huge part of how your organisation
serves its customers. Look at how
these affect processes, and at how
they may need to change to make
your organisation more success-
Audit and review internal
You need to ensure that the
information you rely on is correct
and comprehensive. This means
that you can monitor your organ-
isation effectively to ensure that
it s doing what it should do.
Ask questions such as:
• When were the organisation s
accounting systems last audited?
What were the conclusions?
• Are there any issues with the
accounting system that s in use?
If so, what needs to change?
• What people-related problems
could there be? What risks do these
• What risk management sys-
tems are used? And do these report
effectively on the risks you ve iden-
• Are goals and targets appro-
priate, and are they likely to moti-
vate the behaviors that you want?
• Is management information
useful, appropriate, accurate, and
robust? And how well does it mon-
itor delivery of the organisation s
Challenge Your Find-
Now it s time to compare your
risk analysis with the information
that you ve gathered about how
your organisation works. This com-
parison will help you see if reality
diverges from what has been
Question everything, and use
common sense. For example, look
for the following:
Teams with excessive workloads:
What do members of these teams
not have time to do? What risks
does this present? How does this
affect the organisation s mission?
Outcomes that seem "too good
to be true": Are corners being cut?
Bottlenecks that could cause
serious delays: What are the impli-
cations of these?
Inefficient work flows: Is effort
being spent at the wrong stage of
Departments with high staff
turnover or sickness: Are there
management or process problems
in these departments?
Be Constantly Curious
Your work doesn t stop once
you ve made sure that current pro-
cedures are working. You must
continue to scan for new problems,
and prevent them from escalating.
Build time into your schedule to
Look for the right balance
between micromanagement and
staying informed about people,
events, and trends.
Also, it s likely that you ll have
additional representational respon-
sibilities, now that you re in a lead-
ership role---for example, you may
have event organisers clamoring
for your time.
So, prioritise these demands
carefully so that you can respond
to sudden demands on your time.
This way, you ll be better placed
to manage crises calmly.
And remember the idea of man-
agement by wandering around.
This is an effective way of gathering
information from your colleagues
on a rolling basis, including getting
feedback on processes, workloads,
and customer expecta-
Visiting all parts of
your organisation also
builds trust, so that col-
leagues are more likely to
report problems to you
before they escalate.
Last, schedule brief but
regular meetings with
your team to discuss
issues, trends, and risks.
Work out which matters
you expect to be kept
could be issues that are
problematic, or that are
high-risk or fast-paced;
and ask for regular
updates on these.
When you step into a
new organisational lead-
ership role, you ll be
shouldering a lot more
responsibility than you re
You re no longer sim-
ply in charge of meeting
targets and deadlines: you
now have an obligation
to your colleagues and
your customers to make
sure that everything
appropriate is being done
to deliver your organisa-
tion s mission, safely and
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