You Get What You Organize For

Mr. Stevens is the data-driven news junkie in our household. In November, when it became clear there would be two run-off elections in Georgia and the outcome would determine the control of the Senate, he predicted the Democrats would lose one seat for sure. His expectations for the Democrats were more optimistic than many, who expected Republicans to gain both seats at that time. 

Wednesday’s outcome defied those expectations. Many are giving credit to 10+ years of organizing work by Stacey Abrams, former minority leader in the Georgia House and founder of the New Georgia Project and Fair Fight. Stacey Abrams, in turn, credits the organizers, volunteers, canvassers, and tireless activists who have worked for years, often without the support of the national party. Many of those groups have other Black women at the helm. It is an incredible example of the phrase: “You get what you organize for.” It is also a reminder of how long it can take for organizing efforts to pay off.

In the first week of a new year and a new decade, the advice that “you get what you organize for” applies to so many aspects of our lives as leaders.

Looking Back

Five years ago, I joined a high-growth CEO Forum. One of the first tasks was to track my time for a week. I remember being very surprised at the outcome. So little time was going towards things that mentally I considered “very important.”  And I spent way too much time on things that I considered “not important at all.” It was the data needed to reorganize my days, both at work and at home. The exercise helped me to organize my life in a drastically different way. Looking back, that reorganization was a critical factor to how WeSpire is doing now, the depth of my relationships with friends and family, and the fact that I can still fit into my jeans.

If you have never done this time tracking exercise before, I highly recommend it. I still work to make sure my schedule and routines are calibrated with my goals.

Looking Forward

The same lesson applies for organizing at work. In a management context, organizing is the process of coordinating and allocating a firm’s resources in order to carry out its plans. We made two decisions in 2020 that took a lot of courage given how uncertain the situation was. The first is that we increased our investment in product development to accelerate the delivery of new features, particularly supporting international expansion and our inclusive culture module. The second was to increase our investment in marketing. The only way we were able to make these investments was by applying for every possible funding opportunity to increase our resources.

We are just beginning to see the benefit of those increased resources, and resulting organizing efforts, but we are increasingly confident it was the best decision we could have made.

So, as you look at what you want over the next five years with your work, your family and friends, your personal development, your health, ask yourself: are you organized for success? Are your time and your resources aligned to your vision? Are you surrounded by people who can help you succeed, whether you need coaching, cheerleading, or for them to actively take part in those efforts? Do you have a few metrics to help you track your progress?

I am confident each of you will be able to do whatever you set your mind to do this decade, as long as you organize for it.

Quote of the Week: “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”

Anatole France

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