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.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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