Planning for a Bookshelf

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As a fairly recent addition to the Vantage Point team, I remember the recruitment process vividly. And naturally, the things that most stumped me at the time are some of the most memorable. During my interview I was asked, “Imagine you bought a bookshelf from IKEA. How would you go about putting it together? What if there were no instructions?”

 My first inclination was to say I would dive right in and just get it done. That’s what potential employers are looking for, right? Someone who can get things done. 

Now, four months in to my work at Vantage Point, I look back on that question through A People Lens and realize that successfully building a bookshelf, much like building an effective organization, is largely about planning. 

If I were to answer that question again today, it might go something like this:

First, it’s crucial to determine the end goal. What is my nirvana? How will things (or in this case, my home) look and function differently when that goal is achieved? Only then can I identify the projects that will get me there, which might include building a bookshelf.

Next, I’d think about who I could work with to move the project forward – knowing they don’t all have to be builders! Maybe I have acquaintances with similar goals; someone at the IKEA support line might have valuable advice; perhaps friends who know me really well could assess whether a bookshelf will really move me toward my ultimate goal.

All this planning would allow me to decide if a bookshelf is really the best solution. Together, we might conclude it’s actually time for a garage sale instead…

What if all community organizations tackled their operations with that same level of foresight and planning? 

Are you diving right in to build that bookshelf, missing an opportunity to benefit more by having a garage sale instead?

About the Author

After moving to Vancouver in 2012, Jenn joined Vantage Point as Customer Relations Specialist and has since moved into a shared services role as Vantage Point Online Content Specialist and lead of Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP Vancouver. Jenn is responsible for various communications...
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