An appropriate picture for Halloween, right? Dementors are dark, cloaked figures who can drain happiness from and extract the souls of their victims. A visual I’ve never lost since reading “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and perhaps an odd one to associate with success. On a recent train ride I was thinking through the most effective way to help a potential client evaluate a myriad of expansion and revenue opportunities that have come their way thanks to the success of their programs and business model. Revenue and growth opportunities usually connote positives - expanding mission, solidifying sustainability, increasing profitability- not a drain. But often overlooked in evaluating and executing on potential value builders is the drain of a critical and finite resource- time. What will the cost of distraction from time spent on new opportunities be to existing programs and businesses, versus the mission and financial value those new opportunities will bring? Time- yours, your staff, your Board- has value. That value can be measured in direct costs, including salaries and benefits of existing staff and possibly new hires. And importantly, the less direct but very important cost of having people not doing as much of what they do best for the organization. Remember, being terrific at running an existing program does not make one necessarily great at launching a new earned-income venture, and that program may not be as successful with less time spent managing it by those most capable.
Treat time as a resource and value builder not to be drained away. Create a value filter to readily prioritize and evaluate opportunities, with time a criterion. Keep the Dementors at bay. Happy Halloween!