4 Issues That Crippled My College Organizations

These four dilemmas will hold back any good organization and will keep your members from developing to their fullest potential. Communication qualms –

This affects everybody. Imagine you just became the new member in your organization and you are asked to provide contact information such as email, social networks, phone, etc. This sounds great except for one thing. There is no centralization. I can’t tell you how many times I check Facebook and read one thing only to find it contradicted in an email, or even worse through a text message. Without creating a solid meeting ground for communications there will be no standard and information will be lost or misinterpreted. Facebook and social media groups are perfect for keeping everyone connected, but lack the infrastructure required to organize and collect large communications that an email or even a web forum can provide.

Organizational structure –

Raise your hand if you are a leader. Great. Now raise your hand if you are responsible for more than 2 people. Chances are you are in a leadership role that has little or no real authority. This is just fine because it typically means your group wants to try you out for a bigger role. It could, however, mean that there are too many “open positions” to be filled. You need to be able to make this distinction and make it with a clear understanding of your organization. If the group doesn’t have a structure outlined in their bylaws or governing documents you can bet that positions are made up as needed and work is spread out among the top third heavily. This means if there are 30 people in an organization it is likely that 10 do most of the work and 20 get very little exposure to growth and experience. Distribute the work so that everyone can be involved without creating false opportunities.

Unbalanced interests –

We all meet in organizations for one main reason: a common interest. Over time this common interest will evolve and develop into categories of importance and furthermore into subsystems of membership. You might be in a committee that works on designing an air intake system for an engine but you meet with your race team to develop the next winning formula one race car. Both functions support the core objective but only one can be the core objective. If your design takes away from the main project you need to re-evaluate your progress. If you report to someone (and you should be if you aren’t) make sure to outline the major components of your project to ensure you and your team stay on track. Developing the next revolutionary anything won’t matter if it can’t be put to use. The bottom line? Find out how to do something great and innovative while still meeting the demand of your organization, even if you have to scale back your personal interests.

Lack of accountability –

This final one kind of blankets the three others. If you can’t respectably point out issues in your own organization then you aren’t working hard enough for the group. No team is perfect but the ones that come close work on their faults continuously. When I worked in a restaurant my manager would put me in the position I was bad at whenever he had the chance, without impeding service or progress of course. This made me stronger and more exposed to my faults in the restaurant. Eventually I became a team leader and had been all over the place from washing dishes to suggesting new hires. My manager and I had a relationship that allowed me to point out his faults and help him turn weakness into strengths just as he did with me. When someone comes to you and points out an area where you can improve it shouldn’t be taken as an attack, it should be reviewed as an opportunity. If you can’t hold each other accountable for whatever reason the entire team will inevitably fall short of its goals.

These dynamic characteristics don’t just cease when you leave college however. As stated above if you fail to work on these issues continuously, you are not working hard enough for your organization. This applies to everything you do after college as well. Your employer will look to you when your team fails, but will expect to watch your team succeed. Good luck to all the recent graduates, and keep moving forward!

Photo Credit:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ginnerobot/2819426629/

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  ginnerobot
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