As a new mother of a beautiful baby girl, I have learned a lot in these past few months about myself and my management style. Maybe it sounds callous that I think in terms of “managing” my baby – and some parents would probably disagree and say my baby is managing me – but it’s true!
Here is what I have learned.
Perfection is not necessary – Instead, strive for continuous improvement.
I may not know everything about mothering, but neither does my baby!Both of us have started with a blank slate, and we both have to learn as we go. You can’t be a victim of decision paralysis. Accept that you will make mistakes and choose to fail informatively, so you can improve the process next time.
Your audience (be it a baby, an employee, or a donor) doesn’t necessarily know things didn’t go the way you planned, so just pretend you planned that way! And then plan on doing better next time.
Poop Happens – …on the outfit, the blanket, the wall…. (yes, the wall.)Don’t panic! Clean it up.
In business and in babies, sometimes circumstances beyond your control interfere with your ideal state (like clean walls.) Freaking out only adds to the stress level. And trust me, a stressed out baby is much more difficult to handle than a calm baby. Instead, deal with the situation one step at time.Change the diaper, change the outfit, and then hand baby to Poppa so you can go scrub the wall.
Anticipate needs – Babies don’t always know what they want; you have to know for them!
Be ready with what you think they’ll need, before they even ask for it. A happy baby is easier to feed than a fussy baby. Instead of waiting for hunger to arrive, proactively have the milk ready.You won’t have to scramble and baby won’t have to wait.
A nonprofit’s patrons are the same. If you know your patrons are going to wait until December 31st to think about their annual gift, have an online donation form ready for them to make that 11th hour donation painlessly.
Go with the flow – The best laid plans [of mice and men] don’t always work out the way you want.
Be agile enough to change directions when necessary. You may have planned a walk at 2pm, but if baby is napping, you may decide to wait and walk later.If it’s raining later, when baby wakes up from her nap, rather than being disappointed that the walk must be cancelled, consider it a chance to teach baby about what rain smells like!
In the professional world, new opportunities often present themselves with little introduction. Don’t rigorously follow your planned strategy with no consideration.Wise managers will even be flexible enough to turn a possible threat into a new opportunity.
Prioritize – Deal with the most urgent need first.
Sometimes it seems all your problems come to a head at the same time.Baby is hungry, baby is wet, baby is fussy!You may be super-mom (or super-dad), but can’t do everything at once.It’s important to prioritize needs and deal with the most pressing issues first, before proceeding to the next.
Feed first, then diaper. Don’t forget the cuddles!
Face time is crucial – Non-verbal communication is key, especially when you haven’t learned to talk yet. And sometimes just knowing that you are there is enough to head off a major incident. Be present and engaged. If you are working from home while the sitter watches the “lil bits,” poke your head in the play pen to get a good smile.
At work, tour the cubicles every once in a while, just to say hey to your employees and colleagues.
The bottom line – Similar to babies, customers, colleagues, and patrons don’t always know what they need.They may know they need something, but without a clear understanding of the solutions available, they don’t know exactly what that “something” is. By being present, listening, and anticipating needs, you can make happy babies and happy customers!