Monday, May 9, 2011

BIG's Blog: Can I Ask 'Why?'

In case you do not read Seth Godin’s blogs, his blog yesterday on Share your confusions reminds me of my early days in fundraising. I began my career teaching nonprofits how to use the new database technology for accessing their data.

As I trained staff, I would ask questions about their department’s processes. The goal was to educate the staff so they could become more efficient and cost effective when using this new technology. Many times the discussion would lead to more questions that identified challenges with other departments within the organization.

There were times when staff would hand me a procedure manual to find an answer. After reading through the manual, it would leave me befuddled. What was written was contrary to what they were trying to do.

Through these situations, I would sit down with management and ask questions about their policies. The answer to most of my questions was, “We always have done it this way.” My response was, “Is it the right way to do it?" I did not necessarily have the answer. But, I did identify areas where possible changes should be made.

The digital world is new to everyone. But, as you build a digital platform for your organization, it may be helpful to have someone from the outside ask the question, “Why?” as you build your policies and procedures. It can help you see things from a different perspective.


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