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It is tough to run a successful company or association these days, and it’s not likely to get any easier for the next 3 to 5 years as the economy continues to ease forward rather than charge. As budgets continue to tighten and services are evaluated to determine their worth, consider these 5 steps when you are choosing which programs and services to keep, which to eliminate, and what new ones you can afford.

1. Desire – Before you eliminate an old program or create a new one, determine the long term desire of the entire organization. Is this just a whim of the current committee? Will it create a lasting positive change for the majority? Can it add to the Legacy of your members or employees? Should it?

2. Vision – Make sure you tap into the knowledge and skill of all the team members. Do not let inexperienced decision makers force change that could begin a chain of long term negative results. If you can’t gather enough information from your existing group, invite or hire other experts to share their opinions and past experiences.

3. Focus – Allow enough time to make a proper decision. We often rush because change is needed right now. Sometimes the phrase “it’s better to ask forgiveness rather than ask for permission” can really come back to bite you on the butt!

4. Clarity – Writing down the long term goal (see #1) for “all to see” is an easy way to get clarity on the how, when, where, and why. Put emphasis on the “why”.

5. Success – Celebrate your success, but evaluate every step. Do not be afraid to change the process along the way. Remember to regularly evaluate the how, when, and where and change the game when necessary.

Right now is the time to plan for your future successes. You can’t wait for better times, you have to create them!

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