Helping Nonprofits Communicate

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What Do You Consider “Mission Critical”

Six months ago we were sitting at the monthly team meeting with our new client. Their team was reviewing the last week and making goals for the upcoming week.  The phrase “mission critical” came up repeatedly. As in “is this mission critical?” “Let’s go through this list with mission critical first.” “I don’t believe this is mission critical, let’s push it to next week.”  We loved the sentiment so much we have carried it over into our NMS team meetings and introduced it to our other clients.

How often do meetings or projects veer off point? How often do we spend time outside the circle of “mission critical” without even realizing it?  This simple statement (tacked above our workstation) has increased efficiency in ways we didn’t expect.  Every moment spent on an activity takes away from a different activity. You want to make sure you are maximizing your meetings, your work-time and your volunteer hours. It’s critical to focus your energy on your mission.

At the beginning of the meeting (or in an email prior to the meeting) bullet point all the things you FEEL need to be discussed. This can be done in about 15-30 seconds per item depending on how many people need to voice their opinion. Then, once it’s all on paper, work from this handy tool to determine which items naturally float to the top, those that should be discussed if there is time and those that can be pushed to next week or handled separately via email or quickly in another setting.

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This can be translated to your personal work, as well.  You can do a self-check once a week.  Say Wednesday is your ‘mission critical tune up.’  Follow the same steps as above.

  1. Make a list of the things you feel are on your plate and need to get done
  2. Prioritize according to this chart
  3. Work on your mission critical items, reassign items that can wait, delegate items that need to be done but not necessarily by you

We promise after doing this for a few weeks you’ll see a marked increase in productivity, team collaboration and general merriment. I mean who couldn’t use a little extra general merriment? We’d love to hear how this works for your organization. Do you have a different way to approach tasks? Do you already focus on mission critical?  Let us know!

Update 8/2014: We have now translated this into a printable worksheet for you and your team!

Click on the link below to downloadMission-Critical-Worksheet-2014_v3 PAGE1 Mission-Critical-Worksheet-2014_v3NMS Mission Critical Worksheet

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