Operations Finance: A Whole Systems Approach to Decision Making
Jim Dygert shares his valuable program for managing nonprofit financial information for crucial decisions.
It’s not software or IT. It is not management consulting. It is: a coherent management system of insights, tools, and practices that produces the results.
Hence we call it a Whole Systems Management Upgrade and can be defined with a new business term called: Operations Finance.
It is an operations and organizational decision making tool, specifically designed for Presidents, CEOs or Managing Directors as a systems upgrade.
The process engages the Chief Stewart and can be either used exclusively by themselves as a Decision Making tool. Or allows that person to bring in others from their Senior Team, and even their workforce, as it creates an aligned vision and mission. Ultimately, it provides a structure to fulfill the untapped potential of the entity, by turning workforce engagement into a performance center.
When used in For-Profit companies it creates net new cash from the business of the business. And in Non-Profit organizations it creates better working conditions and improved intended results.
We have made it easy to adopt and easy to use.
Once integrated into the operations and made routine, it leads the workforce to routinely produce impressive results.
It enhances performance for virtually any company or organization; because it is a whole-system solution including both Operations and Finance.
Mr. Dygert has been working in this field of “Operations Finance” for over a decade and has has worked with several For-Profit and Non-Profit organizations.
For more information you can go to one of the companies that is building this out at: MOSUpgrade.com (MOSU – Management Operating Systems Upgrade)
Read the Interview
Hugh Ballou: Greetings, it’s Hugh Ballou and Russell Dennis. Russell, good day to you, sir.
Russell Dennis: Happy Tuesday, the last Tuesday of August. Welcome to The Nonprofit Exchange. We have a brilliant financial mind here today in the form of young Jim Dygert. He is going to talk to us about money, something some of us get a little uncomfortable with, but we always have to keep in mind.
Hugh: Oh, Jim Dygert. Tell us about yourself please.
Jim Dygert: Good day. I began a journey after college with a little operation called the U.S. Treasury Department. I scored very high in some adaptation skills that I had, which allowed me to move into what they call a systems analyst. As a systems analyst, I am looking for not only the repeated process steps inside of an organization or an activity, but I am also looking for the aberrations that are caused when things don’t work right. With that, I was advanced to be an examiner for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which is a division of the U.S. Treasury. They’re charged with establishing the solvency and liquidity of our entire national banking system. When I was doing my work there, we were doing the things that ultimately are now considered stress test. The ability for a financial institution tor any organization to behave according to its mandate, its vision, and its mission, and its purpose such that it becomes sustainable. I learned the term “sustainability” long before it was applied to the green world of sustainable businesses beyond economics. I learned it from the standpoint of what we call triple bottom line and the ability for an operation to not only create cash flow in those organizations that do create cash flow, or to serve and store the cash flow so that it might be provided to it in the world efforts and the arena of, say, nonprofits, where there may be a grant or sponsors or contributors that are allowing those funds to be available to pursue a particular goal and vision or mission.
In that process of learning systems dynamics and systems analysis and procedural process steps and mapping of flow of work force behaviors, ultimately in the last 15 or 20 years, the industry that’s applied to, I wanna say consulting, but not really, the work I do is not really consulting. It does give consul, and it does give a procedural step. We actually have built a non-technology-based, non-IT-based, non-software-based procedural process steps for risk mitigation. In effect, the decision-making skills that any organization needs to go through, whomever is stewarding the direction of that organization, needs to have a tool set for discerning and determining what are the best decisions to make. Now there is a lot of prior work we all say that we stand on the shoulders of giants who came before us. There is a lot of prior work in this industry. But no one has taken the position that we have, that we create what we call a mirror and complement to the chart of activities or the chart of accounts that is associated with financial statements. I think you’ll agree, and your audience is probably familiar with, financial statements.
Whether it’s a personal solopreneur that needs to have a financial statement and does have one, or an enterprise or organization, whether they are for profit or whether they are not for profit, those financial statements are often the story that is told of the history of that organization’s activities. To be able to read that story is much like reading a language. Understanding the nuances of how those outcomes came to exist is the story which we dive into. We give the real practical, actionable, practitionable events that allows the decision-maker, again, whether it’s a solopreneur or all the way through to a larger organization. We have worked with very large organizations with more than 2,000 employees.
The process works because it does what we would call- it goes beyond business process management. Some people may have heard of things like Adjul or Balanced Score Card or Sig Sigma or a whole arena of disciplines that approach and help to describe the inter-working relationships that go on inside of an organization because an organization is a living, breathing entity. It goes and lives in essence beyond the work force. It creates it. Hopefully it does. Whether it’s a proprietor who built something and some day steps away, because they have sold it or it grew up, we have worked with employee stock option programs where employees have purchased the operations that were created by an original founder. We have worked on mergers and acquisitions where a company is going to be absorbed by someone else or merges, and there is a cultural clash that goes on between them. Oftentimes, cultural clashes are merely an outcome of not sufficient information and not sufficient communications. There is a whole arena of work in that environment. We encapsulate that. We encapsulate financial literacy and mastery of financial statements, and we encapsulate this entire process of organizational behavior and created a mirror and complement to the chart of accounts that mirrors and complements what we call a chart of activities. When we do that, we get a true line of sight between the behavior inside the organization and the financial outcomes it produces. From there, we can create performance and projections.
Hugh: Russell, what is that spark in your interest? You work in the financial area. What kind of interest does that spark by you?
Russell: One of the keys to being able to make money in nonprofits is to tie a story to it. Money tells a story. As you said, it has a language of its own, and people can tie- I like that statement: chart of activities. It’s COA. In painting a picture for people that support you, it’s important to be able to talk about how what they’re contributing is making a difference or an impact in the lives of other people. Being able to follow that activity is important. As we teach here at SynerVision, the money should be tied to the plans. All of those numbers mean something. All of it has a place, as all of your activities have a place and should have a place. Unpack that a little bit for us. People will sit there and look at a chart of accounts and think of a budget. What is a good example of an account that becomes activity? If you were to take a certain set of items off of that chart of activities and relate it to a chart of accounts, what would those things be, and what kind of story would they tell?
Jim: Sure, that is exactly what the process begins to do. We actually map those, and we end up with a value creation map. The value creation map is indicative of the collection of activities. It is not just usually a single person or a single node that ends up impacting the financial direction of the organization. Either the past, or if we intend to change its future. We are actually looking at that collection of things that may drive the results we are looking for. For instance, we may have in a nonprofit as you say the source of funds coming from an outside environment. We don’t have to have operational activities to drive source of funds the way a product or service company does. But we still have an activity that might be needed to raise funds or to maintain funds or to continuously create an additional flow of funds. That behavior activity, as a group of things that are done, end up being the driving factors that will of course show up instead of income like a for-profit company, it will show up in the direct revenue sourcing.
Russell: This sounds like an interesting hybrid between a spreadsheet and a value proposition map, for example.
Jim: Exactly. You’re capturing the concept of what this is. The process is rather definitive. We define the exact ways in which things are done in order to solicit and create the organizational alignment because as we all know, whether it’s a for-profit or nonprofit organization, if we don’t have alignment of vision, purpose, and mission, we don’t have the right contribution of human energy in order to get the things accomplished we need to, whether it’s run a particular campaign or do a particular event or maintain the back office in some way. We go through a process that first aligns people.
Secondly, through that alignment process, there is a dissection or depiction by the individual parties of what are the value creation activities inside the organization that create a thrilled and delighted customer? We can use the term analogy “customer” in any vernacular we like. Who is our customer in this? Who is our customer in that? When we go through that process, we are looking for the hand-ups and hand-offs of the things that are going on, the action steps, the behaviors and activities that then can be mapped and charted and now because of that grouping and analysis work, we can find out what impact it has. If it’s on traditional financial statements or a nonprofit’s financial statement, now we can begin to tie that together. We have actually redefined what is called a KPI.
People have heard of that: key performance indicator. When the KPIs were first identified and created, they had a very significant and purposeful meaning. Over the years, KPIs have slipped a little bit. The integrity of what a KPI is has been lost and is a minutiae almost inside of so many other disciplines. Sometimes today in a manufacturing world, a KPI company might be how many widgets we produce today, this week, or this month, or this quarter. Or how many cartons did we ship off the loading dock. Those are certainly performance indicators, but they are not what we call key performance indicators, and they are not master measures of what kinds of things are being done inside the organization. When I say how things are being done, not just what is being done.
When we apply the process steps to which we derive key performance indicators, first of all, we are looking for an operational data point, something that we can demonstrably describe in an operational statement, and how is that measured against a financial data point, and that data point may show up in the financial statements. Once we have those two, now we are looking for discernment as to whether it’s historic activities are in line with where we want to take the direction of the organization, or they may not be, and what changes do we need to make in order to impact the future growth of the organization?
There are some similarities in for-profits and nonprofits. Not always. But in some for-profit businesses, they have a board of directors. The board of directors may be implementing operational directives that the chief executive officer or a hired president may need to have as a mandate to move forward to directionalize the growth of that organization. It’s coming from the board. Similarly, nonprofits may have an operating manager or an ED or a managing director that is stewarding the direction of the organization, but they may also have a board that has some mandates to what the outcomes we are looking for are. As the decision-maker and the go-to process person, the president or the managing director, they have to make decisions regularly on what is the direction that the organization is going in. Is it consistent with the mandate? And it changes.
Hugh: Russell opened up a good topic. I’m sorry, I thought that was a period, it was a comma. He opened up this fascinating topic, this channel. You have delved into the data. It is almost like a three-dimensional way of looking at a static document. I find that there is remarkable similarities in entrepreneurs, whether they are working for a for-profit or for-purpose enterprise. Virtually, the board of directors has financial oversight responsibility. Financial oversight and governance are the two big ones. Russell’s area of work is high-performance nonprofits that generate money. My work overlaps with that. Our work overlaps each other. It’s how we generate the culture of high performance.
Jim, what occurs to me as you are explaining this, is the similarity is the people running the organization don’t really understand the numbers and what they mean. There is a fundamental lack of understanding of the balance sheet and the P&L budget and they don’t really know what a cash flow projection could be used for. They also don’t realize the metrics you are putting on the plate. You are measuring what we do, how we do it, but we also need to measure the results of what we are doing. That is the real meat. Speak in that direction a little bit. You are creating a whole new picture. We named this interview – I took the liberties in saying it’s “a new systems approach of financial decision-making for nonprofits.” What you are opening up is a whole new paradigm of how we, the governance of this organization, make effective financial decisions.
Jim: Correct. Because it’s not just financial decisions. We have non-financial outcomes as well. That may be job satisfaction, enjoyment in what we do, the contribution of time and talent, besides the treasure people may be giving to a nonprofit or a for-purpose business activity. We are looking at that holistic approach from an operations- how does the grease move between the wheels? If we called the money the cash flow, the grease that moves between the wheels, how does it get there? Where does it go? How is it used? What decisions processes do we have to go through in order to implement change and/or growth and/or strategies that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to project forward without the understanding of how much grease there is, where it comes from, and where is it best used? Because this is a decision process tool to help discern the activities inside the organization that will drive the organization to where its intended destination is.
A lot of budget process steps are analysis work to discern how much did we do last year, what is our deviation differences between the few years before and where we want to go? We set goals as dreams, as visions, as desires. We begin to move there. We don’t have the tools to stay on track. We don’t want that train to jump the track. We have to lay down the track in a way that is consistent with the activities of the past and consistent with our intended outcomes and set the mile posts and the signs on the track ahead to ensure that it stays on the track. If it starts to get off the track, which happens, how do we know it’s getting off the track before we derail it? Long before we have derailed it so that we can make sure we are staying on track and staying focused with our vision and purpose.
You had it right, Hugh. This is like a three-dimensional view of a single-dimension financial statement. When a business operator looks at their financial statements, oftentimes, the individual who is running that organization or that entity has a little depth into it, has a second level view into it. But until that second-level view can be catalyzed and articulated to the other members of the organization, such that the other members have full unanimity and an understanding of what is happening inside the organization with the value creation activities that create a thrilled and delighted customer, all those things that begin to manifest and create the organization as an entity, that is your second level of depth.
Your third level of depth is once that takes place, we need a loop back system. We need a way in which those activities are not only understood, but they are inculcated into a system in a way in which those behavior traits begin to manifest by everyone inside the organization. The deeper we take it through a work force environment, the more sustainable results that we can end up achieving. Believe me, the beauty of this is it’s not particularly hard or difficult. It’s not tech, and it’s not software. These are process activities that can take a very limited amount of time when we implement them in the strategy we have created.
Hugh: Tag on that a minute that was a direction I was hoping to go. As you explained it, I am melting down here. This looks like it’s really hard. For Russell, it’s a piece of cake. For me, it sounds hard. Can you give- This is one thing you can implement without breaking a sweat.
Jim: I will use an example where a chief financial officer or president of a company, a for-purpose organization, has a viewpoint of the operational activities of that endeavor. We begin to do a process map and let them unpack that tacit amount, that information we have in their head. How do we do this? How do we operate? When that is done, we usually go to the next key performer inside the organization. In a for-profit, sometimes that is a controller or a CPA or the CFO. We get their alignment. We get their vision of it. Once we get unanimity between the two, then we can begin to move that out into the next realm of responsibilities: senior teams, the core teams of a for-purpose organization.
As that begins to become a real map, a real value creation activity map, now we begin to tie those things into, in their case, their financial statement, whatever that financial statement is. The system, we have used it for early-stage start-up organizations that are less than three years in operations, and it does have tremendous value, and we can get alignment. The best use of what we have accomplished is in larger organizations that have been established for a period of time and have a lot of working modules. There is a theory of domains that say in an ordered and in an unordered states. Ordered states are things like simple and complementary. Unordered are things like chaos and complex. We work in that world of simple and complexity. Because of that, every organization has intended activities. Therefore, we have a loop. Once we know there is intended activities, we have a loop. When we have a loop, we can define the elements that support that loop.
If I can bring it back down to that working relationship for you to understand, Hugh, it is simply diagnosing the activities inside the organization. Looking for systems that are created. Some of the best activity that we have applied this to is there is a thing called the theory of constraints. If you constrain a volume of water and constrict it, you are going to reduce the amount of flow the water has. You may increase the speed, but potentially you are restricting that. When we applied this process using the theory of constraints, we are applying it to the aberrations in the system. Remember I said something about my background as a systems analyst of aberrations in systems. That is what we look for.
When we apply it to an organization, we are looking for those things that just don’t connect well, the things we call disconnects and strengths and problematic areas. The things that keep people staying up late at night, those little worrisome areas that say, “I wish I could fix this.” This process begins to unpack and peel back the activities that create the process which are the intended outcomes. We define those unintended outcomes that are the consequences. Then we can reapply the same process to discern what are the intended outcomes we want and giving us the gauge point that behavior statement, data point, on top of a financial data point. Now we can begin to monitor and make sure the activities are what carry forward.
We are a big believer in organizations should run under what we call non-directive leadership. We have gone through the development stage in organizations where directive leadership is command control, rank and file, orderly activities. I am not saying that’s being replaced. There is still a lot of need for the process steps that that has been built on. But in today’s environment, to become nimble and to be able to adept itself as a living entity in an environment that is also changing, the better you can encapsulate your living environment and ensure you are in command and control of that environment, means you can be nimble. Command and control in that sense means that you have diversified some authority and moved that authority down through the rank and file so that decisions can be made by people who have the responsibilities and then need the authority to make those decisions.
We look at non-directive leadership in that the hierarchy of work force, be it up through managers and presidents, is all about red light, green light, or yellow light projects. The projects are being brought from the lower level and brought in as saying we believe this is a better way to accomplish what we intend to accomplish. Here is how we propose to change what we have happening to improve that process. Senior personnel will either then red light the process because it is not acceptable for whatever reasons, yellow light it with exceptions being like “I’ll green light it once you have these answers. We have to look at the system elsewhere and see where we have some aberrations that might take place,” or green light it, “You did a great job. We don’t see anywhere wrong with this. We have checked, and we believe you have a solution to a problem and this is the way to mitigate it. Our blessings. Implement this process.”
Hugh: Russell, you are contemplating some of these themes. What is brewing in that good-looking shiny head of yours?
Russell: A lot of people are jealous of my naturally curly hair, but we will save that for another episode.
What I am thinking, because that is the third piece of building what I call a high-performance nonprofit, is staying on track. Having good tools to measure is critical. I am going to ask you about how you get around some of this overwhelm because as you talked about, these things can look overwhelming, especially to somebody who is in a small nonprofit. What I look to do, and I remember meeting a young man by the name of Brendan Brouchard who talked about creating tools. His theory was that they should be easy to access, understand, and use. I have some things that are not necessarily scientific, but it gives nonprofit leaders ways to measure things, just like a profile of a donor or a customer, very basic things. I find that with tools, if the tools kind of flow into the work that people are already doing, it becomes easier for them to actually access them and use them. I think there is a bit of resistance. I know you are working with larger systems. I can’t imagine how much you see.
What I was going to ask you was because a lot of people, their eyes will glaze over. How do you break down this need in a way that people sort of get it and convince them that it’s really in their best interest to use it? There is that human resistance to things that look like they will take more effort than the benefits produced. How do you work around that? What are some good ways to talk to people, especially nonprofit leaders about the importance of this and some things they can do that don’t look so large and overwhelming?
Jim: Good point. Here’s as simple as it can be. When we look at an organization, any kind, no matter its size or purpose, there are four major activities. We get all caught up in all kinds of strategy sessions, but there are four activities. There is sourcing and discerning who our client is, whatever that client is, for-purpose or for-profit. There is servicing and ensuring that that client, prospect, customer is cared for. There is research and development. Then there is back office.
Our proposition in the way we have designed and created this simply follows those four arenas. When you look at your whole existence, and you discern yourself in those environments, now, yes, we can get into all kinds of permutations and chart of accounts and 300 line items and financial statements that come off as reams of data because it is a big organization. If we really step back and look at it and say what we are doing here, why are we doing this, what are those elements or arenas that say if we could encapsulate and roll up all those charts of accounts into categorical arenas, those are the four arenas we would find.
It is possible to have other minor arenas. But our contention is that is not the focus and motivation of what the organization was intended to accomplish. It may have grown into some of those other arenas along the way. They can be carved out or pushed away or sold. Maybe they developed so deeply that it was a great idea, and it’s time for it to carve out or to break away and become its own existence. We’d have to nurture it and support it along the way. But when we look at those, at the aberrations and not the real content, we now are putting them in the right perspective, and we can stay focused on the right content in the right context so that we can actually create operational behavior. Intended organizational, operational behavior for intended outcomes.
Russell: This is all very exciting stuff. Because you can get lost in the weeds with software and tools and what’s out there. When you are working with people, what would you say is the primary deliverable they get that they can take and use to, once this system is built, keep themselves on track?
Jim: Perfect. Well asked. If we hold onto those four arenas, and you simply look at each of those arenas and give yourself four or five activities in each of those arenas that constitute the major activities of that arena, what are the most dominant things that go on in that arena? Whether it’s sourcing or profiling or understanding what our client perspective is, or whether it’s the supporting and product and service delivery, or whether it’s R&D, or back office, if we looked at five or six major activities inside that organization, they will be able to map out for themselves. This could be a six-person organization. It doesn’t have to be 6,000. This can be a very small or ongoing activity. Once they begin to find that, now you are really fine-tuning who is doing the things. How many hats does somebody have to wear to get these done in a small organization? When we get into bigger ones, we are just carving them out and breaking them down deeper.
We look at the chunk-it-up to the top. Look at it from that 10,000-foot view and simply understand the mechanics of what is going on. When you get those mechanics down, you can actually create a map. We call that the value creation map. Those are the four or six things in each arena that are done to make a thrilled and delighted customer.
Russell: That is brilliant. At what point do they have a number of items in those four arenas, is an organization in danger of losing its effectiveness? Is there an optimum number of activities under each area? I’m certain probably that there are certain things that are most important to each one. What would you say an optimum number is in terms of the effective span of control and efficiency?
Jim: I don’t know there is an absolute way to discern that because different things do different things. For us to look at things, whether it is a 6,000-employee organization or 60, we still maintain there is probably an optimum number to define for yourself. A master measure of defining, this is what we call, that leads to the KPI, that master measure is the pinnacle of activities, whether it encompasses several thousand people or just a few people underneath it. We do look for an optimum. When we build a chart of activities, we are looking for just 20-22 activities. That’s it. That constitute well over 98% of the activities inside the organization.
Russell: I was just thinking about those KPIs. They are different for everybody, for every industry. Those KPIs, with a nonprofit, your donor, your funding sources, there are a lot of other people that help define what those are. The people that get your services. A lot of definition and customization.
Jim: We also believe a KPI is something that expires over time. When we build a KPI, we are building the data point for the problem, the theory of constraints. We are building a data point over a financial outcome point. We are looking to improve that KPI to the point where the problem has been negated. It’s not a problem anymore. It’s gone away. Or another problem becomes more prevalent and more important. We rotate KPIs over time in having a history base of what those KPI measures are and maintaining an index of those. Now we have assessment tools of what we have done over time and what the process steps of the organization have been. It literally builds the generic environment that allows the organization to thrive and survive over time and be nimble moving into its future.
Hugh: For some people who aren’t familiar with KPIs, give us an example of what some typical KPIs might be. As a group, we are looking at a staff, board, committees, volunteers in a for-purpose enterprise. As we look at the KPIs and the measurability of our processes and outcomes, it would seem that would be a way to engage the culture in a performance standard they have not otherwise envisioned.
Jim: Sure. Let’s use something that has typically been done, and is probably done regularly still, in a for-purpose organization. Let’s say they do something called a fundraiser. They are doing an activity. I don’t care if it’s a 5k run or a pie-eating contest. They have done this before. They know what they are likely to redo again this next season. They are planning for it. In their planning steps, they begin to find out how many people do we have to do this, how many people do we have to do that, how many things do we have to do. The KPI in that activity would be something more along the lines of do we have the punch list created for what we need to accomplish? Surprisingly enough, that simple activity is usually where most of our consult ends up being and mentoring being when someone is failing at an activity. Are you doing the basic block and tackling? If we can now say we need to have an overall planning strategy that constitutes the punch list necessary that defines all the activities before we go in and assign activities, we need to make sure we have a reconcilable document effectively that says now we know how many we are going to assign for this and for that. Now we have a better predictability of the results happening the way we had intended. Now we can define that against the outcome which is how much did we accrue that day or weekend or five-day event?
That seems rudimentary. But it does give you an idea that we are looking at a facts of activities. Not the who, not necessarily the what, but about the how. Are we defining the how clearly enough that we can answer it so that we can provide the who that ends up coming out to be the what? In a for-profit business, it could be as simple, and in a for-purpose business, let’s say we are not having good success in driving traffic to our website, and we don’t have a good conversion rate. People are not hitting our landing page; it’s not doing well. Do we have an overall master plan that includes the process steps associated with all the right things necessary to make that work? Or did we just venture into it with a hope, a wish, a dream, a desire to have this outcome? It might sound like tediousness, but we are not talking about the actual things that need to be done. We are talking about defining what needs to be done. Once you define what needs to be done, now you can have the measurement tool to say are we doing that?
Hugh: Let’s connect the dots. What Russ and I are good at is creating the strategy and a strategic plan, what we call in SynerVision a solution map. It’s fundamentally the same. Where do you want to be, and how are you going to get there? Subsets of that, we have milestones that have price tags on them. We have to generate funding for those. We have a marketing channel – we have to let people know what we are doing so they will fund us. The people who attend our events, the people we want on our board or committees, know what we are doing.
We are coming to the last ten minutes here. Give a short answer here, and then we will have a wrap and you will get the final tip before we cut loose this interview today. How do we connect all those different parts?
Jim: How do we connect them? That was the question.
Hugh: Your tool providing, is it a way to take what we think we want to do on paper, what we actually want to do, and integrating it. Does your process help us connect those dots?
Jim: Yeah. In that we are looking at the actual activities that are being performed today. A little bit of what you were describing was a proactive going-to-do thing. Did I garner that a little bit when you said if you looked at the strategy, we want this to happen so we have to budget for it? We are applying it in the realm of is that activity working now? Because if it is, that is how we are applying our systematic approach. If it’s not working now, that becomes hypothetical. It only allows us to accept the framework, but we don’t have the loopback in the financial outcomes yet. In our environment, for what we are doing, we have to have the loop back. It’s a quad-loop activity instead of a dual loop or a triple loop. By the time we get done, we have to have that connectability between operations and the outcomes.
Hugh: That’s missing often, isn’t it?
Jim: If it’s an ongoing organization, it’s there. If it is an early-stage start-up or brand new or doesn’t have enough history to it, it is extremely difficult to tie this together. We can do theory, and we can get people to understand. They can adapt the process steps that allows for the alignment to take place. That vision forward, that alignment that goes on. That’s good. But in order to create the line of sight reconcilement to the financial statements, if there is none that exists, or it’s too early stage, we don’t have that history yet.
Russell: That’s why I built that four steps to performing a high-performance nonprofit course because you have to start somewhere. You have to begin where you are. By having some tools that you can take and start tracking certain things, you can build that history. It’s important to build that history. If you are talking about a start-up and you have probably come across some that are looking at raising large amounts of money, it’s critical to have that system in place, I would think.
Jim: It’s about the source and use of funds. If we go back to that value map, and we go back to 20-22 activities within those four arenas, anybody can do that. Start-ups can do it. Early-stage developments can do it. Ongoing activities that haven’t had a huge history yet, anybody can do that. When you step back and look at and get real about if this is what we are doing here, now that you can begin to do that, you will channel the activities, that precious time, and that precious talent that is wanting to support that idea, concept, or project that is being launched, now can devote their attentions to the right things and minimize those things that might be important but are not critical. Now we can spend energy and time in the right things.
Hugh: Russell, I bet you’re thinking what I’m thinking is that these things are highlighting some of the things that donors want to know about.
Russell: When somebody comes to you, somebody may be listening here, and we hope people get listening here get value out of it. That’s why we do this work. It’s very important. When somebody approaches you and says, Okay, well, I think I understand in theory why I need this. Where do I start? Where is it that you tell them to start? Or you begin the process so that they can move in the direction of implementing this system.
Jim: Again, working from the inside out, we start with the chief steward of the organization. Whoever is the responsible party for making the focused decisions of what to do here. We interview them and have them unpack that story that is that chart of activities, those 20-22 activities inside those four areas. Once we unpack that, we begin to hone it a bit. More importantly, since we are not really ever talking to people who are solopreneurs, someone who has a few people around them, we begin to go to the next responsible party. Without the answers provided by the first, we allow them to do the process maps themselves. Then we begin to get the alignment. When we get the alignment, now we begin to say where is our energy and time? As that system begins to manifest out into larger circles, from that alignment process, once we have alignment, we can begin to make measure. Depending on what we are measuring against, whether it’s the history of the story and the financials or whether it’s what our intended outcomes are, now we can at least begin to apply it.
Hugh: A lot of good intentions. This backs it out with some tracking. I think this is an energy field where people understand what’s going on, and it begins to build the collaborative energy in the organization.
Your website is Management Operating Systems, MOSUpgrade.com. Spell out the word “upgrade.” People can find out more there and contact you at that site.
*Sponsor message from Rock Paper Simple and SynerVision Leadership*
Jim, what do you want to leave people with today?
Jim: Because of the nature of your questions, I know you wanted me to simplify this. I believe we have. I may not have explained it quite that well, from the standpoint of it’s very, a professional can do things that look so simple. When we take a look at your organizational activities, we really do look at the complexity of every organization, but we simplify it.
If I can leave one message behind, it is that this ain’t so hard. This ain’t so hard. As I said, we built it on the shoulders of giants. There is a lot of research and data behind this that proves the process and theory. We have some practical demonstrations of outcomes that have worked for some good-sized organizations.
MOSUpgrade, which is Management Operating Systems, Upgrade.com. You can find me there listed as one of the team members. We do have an organization to implement this with some specialized talents.
Directly, people can contact me easily on JimDygert@zoho.com. Love to be able to walk some people through this. Our real challenge is to find people who have a real desire to impact and are having some difficulty making that happen.
Hugh: Russell, let’s say goodbye.
Russell: Jim, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you very much. It’s always important to measure what you’re doing. It’s not rocket science. Contact Jim. Go to SynerVisionLeadership.org or RussellDennis.com, and there are tools for you to do all of these things. Many thanks again.