What your non-profit agency can learn from the congressional fiscal cliff debate?

procrastinationI hope your New Years celebration was fun, safe and full of family and friends. Welcome to 2013 and an exciting new opportunity for you and your non-profit organization.

Rather than host a party this year, John and I went over to our friend’s — Lynn & Maggie — house and spent the night rather than worrying about driving home on New Years Eve. When we woke up on New Years Day, we turned on CNN to see what (if anything) had happened with the congressional fiscal cliff negotiations and debate in Washington D.C.

While watching the coverage, Maggie innocently asked, “Why do these guys always wait to the last-minute to make such important decisions?

As I chewed on her question, I realized this isn’t just a problem that haunts Congress. I see my for-profit friends struggle with the issue of procrastination. I also see many of my non-profit clients struggle with it.

While there are likely many reasons for procrastination (e.g. not having enough resources to adequately staff your agency or not being able to construct a reasonable annual performance plan), I discovered after some clicking around online that our friends at Psychology Today believe it goes much deeper than what you may think.

Rather than ruin the surprise, click here to read what Psychology Today. (Spoiler alert: Freud was wrong. It wasn’t because of your mother, but it may have something to do with your father. Uh-oh!)

After reading the online article about ‘WHY‘ I started clicking around for some answers about ‘WHAT‘ to do about this. Click here to read a post over at Lifehack blog titled “11 Practical Ways to Stop Procrastination”.

Honestly, I don’t think Congress played a game of chicken with the fiscal cliff and continues to risk a double dip recession because they are chronic procrastinators. I suspect this continues to happen because when you’re engaged in a negotiation, time plays a role when it comes to gaining leverage.

However, non-profit professionals such as yourself shouldn’t ignore the awesome question that Maggie asked on the morning of New Years Day. If you or your employees are procrastinations or if procrastination is embedded in your organizational culture, you might want to make a New Years resolution to tackle it in 2013. Why? Because this kind of behavior leads to dysfunction, drama and nothing good for your agency.

I hope you enjoyed the two links pertaining to the ‘WHY’  and ‘WHAT’. If you have other online resources to share, please do so in the comment box below because I’ve made this one of my New Years resolutions, too.

[Editors Note: By the way, please remember that we’re still on an irregular blog posting schedule this week and won’t resume “normal and routine” until next week — January 7-11.]

Happy New Year and . . . Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC

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