WWIF #13: What If It Went Away?

I can count on it.

Maybe it's your favorite restaurant where you're a regular.
Maybe it's the e-newsletter that always has a great tip to implement.
Maybe it's that decent CD rate from the credit union.
Maybe it's the barista at the coffeehouse around the corner.
Maybe it's the sitcom that makes you laugh weekly.

Whatever it may be, we all have elements in our lives that we assume have almost permanent status.  At some point after something being present for so long, you quit thinking about the possibility that it might disappear.

I've been doing Wednesday What If Posts now as a weekly feature for three months, 12 consecutive weeks.  And this week's post is about not having a weekly what if post, a "non-post" of sorts.

At some point in our lives—personal, professional—or in our organizational offerings, things have to be eliminated, replaced, cut, edited.  My ego is sufficiently in check to know that if my weekly what if posts were discontinued your life would go on just fine.

But what are the things you would miss most if suddenly discontinued or eliminated and are you engaging with them accordingly?  It's great to talk about how much you love that little cafe down the street, but if you don't patronize it enough, you'll no longer have it to talk about or enjoy.  And you may have lots of wonderful people in your personal or professional network, but if all your interactions with them are past-tense, there may not be much a future in the relationships.

And organizationally, which of your products and services could disappear without hardly anyone noticing or reacting?  Which would require unrest similar to TV shows fans who rally when their favorite program is on the bubble for cancellation?  And if you can't answer that question, why not ask and see what you learn:  What's one thing we do that, if eliminated, would cause you to experience a tremendous sense of loss? 

What we would most miss are the relationships, events, or activities in our live that hold great meaning for us.  You need to understand the meaning that your members and stakeholders associate with and derive from your organization's efforts.  Otherwise you may have to confront the worst possible what if question: What if nothing you do matters to enough people for your organization to be sustained?