Maybe you haven't realized this yet, but 2016 is more than halfway over and your window of opportunity for knocking out those New Year resolutions is rapidly closing. If you are like most people, your resolutions are collecting dust on a shelf somewhere between your holiday decorations and the homemade bottle of something strange you received as a gift last year.
Don't let the next New Year take you by surprise. Use this summer as an excuse to get your organization train back on track in just four steps.
Figure Out What’s Going On
Step numero uno to getting your race organized is figuring out what is happening now so that you can determine which areas need to be organized in the first place. If you want to improve, you need to take stock of every area of your event to get a clear understanding of what needs to be done and to identify the opportunities in the back end of your race for better organization.
I’ve found the best way to do this is to basically do a business inventory. For a week, keep a record of everything that’s going on in your race. And I mean everything: how you and your team are spending your time, any issues that are coming up with your athletes and all the processes that you have in place for dealing with minor setbacks (like small customer service issues) to full on fires (like losing a permit or a visit from El Niño that might force an event cancellation).
Once you’ve got a week’s worth of data to work with, you’ll have a pretty accurate picture of your biz ops as they are at the current moment. Then, it’s time to get real, be honest with yourself and ask yourself the question: where can we improve?
For example, is your team spending hours every day responding to Tweets and comments on Facebook because they have no direction on how to post on behalf of your race? Or are you missing opportunities to connect with potential sponsors because no one is checking the email address connected to the Contact page of your website on the regular?
Whatever issues you find or areas where you think you can improve, write it down.
(If that wasn't a word, I just made it one.) I know step one probably wasn’t the easiest (no one likes seeing what a hot disorganized mess they are), but once you know where you need to improve, you can actually start doing something about it. Developing systems around each issue or area that came up in your inventory will help get you and your team organized and make sure that everybody understands exactly how to do things and who on the team is responsible for getting them done.
Let’s go back to one of our earlier examples and say that you’ve realized that your team is spending WAY too much time on social media because they’ve got zero idea how they should respond to questions and comments. Everyone is just kind of coming up with answers on the fly, there’s no consistency and literally hours are being wasted. #disorganized
But getting a social media system in place and creating a social media guide that lays out company guidelines, how to answer FAQs from your athletes, how much time should be spent on social media per day (watching cat videos is NOT included) and who on your team is responsible for each account will help everyone get on the same page and get your social media running like a marathon runner on Red Bull.
Once you get all of these systems in place and get everyone on your team up to speed, your level of organization will go from Hoarders to Monica Gellar status.
Find The Right Software
Back in the prehistoric days of the 1980s, we didn’t have much in the way of organization tools. But since we live in a time that is basically a step away from The Jetsons, there are a million and one digital tools at your disposal to automate your event and take the grunt work of organization off your hands.
Pretty much anything you can think of when it comes to organizing your race can be done digitally.
Athlete inquiries from your website getting ignored because someone forgets to check the email? Invest in an autoresponder that will automatically send them a message AND send a notification to the person who needs to respond. Is all of your athlete information a complete mess and you’re spending hours trying to compile data for reports? Set up scheduled reporting with your online race registration partner and get all the reports you need delivered right to your inbox.
Seriously, the possibilities are endless. I’m so happy we’re not in 1984 anymore. #technology
Hold Yourself (And Your Team) Accountable
This might be the most important step to getting your race organized this summer and to infinity and beyond. You’ve got to create some sense of accountability about organization for you and your team. Because here’s the thing about organization: getting organized is pretty straightforward. It’s staying organized that gets a little tricky.
Create an accountability system that rewards your team when they follow your new processes, use your new organization tools and get all Type-A. Keep your team (and yourself) on point with regular check-ins on where projects are and how you can get better organized. Do not let things slide or, I promise, you’ll end up right back where you started.
On your mark, get set, GO ORGANIZE!