leadership dot #2457: bananas

When I worked in college admissions, the admissions counselors internally described applications like bananas. If a student applied without scores or transcripts, it was like a green banana that could sit for a few days before follow-up. On the other end of the spectrum, the longer an incomplete application sat, the more rotten it became until, like an overly-aged banana, it reached a point that it was useless. This classification system allowed us to prioritize and target follow up with appropriate messages for each group.

Think about the process components in your organization that operate like bananas. Maybe you have a job platform where candidates submit partial credentials as they apply for employment. Perhaps your organization is seeking new members and those who show initial interest without follow-through may become “overly ripe”. Or it could be that your organization has people who start a registration without completing it, putting them in various stages that parallel banana maturation.

The term “banana” served as a shorthand for everyone to track the all-important completed application rate in a way that was actionable. It simplified the classification categories and aligned with strategies and priorities. It also allowed the counselors to focus their efforts on applicants that were still viable – or to ignore or to attempt a different strategy to “make banana bread” out of those that weren’t.

Maybe your organization could benefit from “going bananas” with one of your key processes. Just as with the fruit, timing is everything.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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