Go Ahead, Reinvent the Wheel: Being a leader through organizational change
Jess Lawhead, CCIM
Class of 2017, Legacy Fund Fellow
We have all been sitting in that organization’s board meeting that is staring down their large opportunities for improvement, but all the while painstakingly trying to tweak small details of their existing policies, procedures, & practices. Then that lonely member speaks up and challenges one of these existing major practices of the organization...the air gets chilly…
But should it be this way?
Benjamin Franklin said, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” I couldn’t agree more. As leaders in our local communities, non-profits, & corporations, it is our duty to simultaneously be able to lead our organizations through taking a macro and micro perspective. It is easy for organizations to become paralyzed in the attempt to decipher between tradition and an aging practice. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a complete disregard for an organization’s core principles and mission, but rather I am challenging you as a leader to constantly strive to find innovative ways to achieve your organization’s mission at a higher level.
In Grant Cardone’s book, The 10x Rule, he stated that “in order to get to the next level of whatever you're doing, you must think and act in a wildly different way than you previously have been. You cannot get to the next phase of a project without a grander mind-set, more acceleration, and extra horsepower.”
Ok Jess, I’ll bite, what are some things that our organization can do to assist in finding ways to innovate our organization?
Try some of these on for size:
1) Meaningful Reflection - Take time out of the organization’s regular busy schedules and regular scheduled meetings to look at your organization inside and out, past and present. Consider a retreat with key leadership within the organization, offsite, and give plenty of time for the group to meet (all day ideally).
2) Leadership Churn - Bringing fresh perspectives into an organization can have significant effects on how an organization interacts, makes decisions, and ultimately performs. Sometimes a slip in performance can simply be the result of a tired division director/employee/volunteer, time for some strategic churn.
3) Organizational Networking- Get out and meet other organizations in and outside of the scope/industry of your organization, learn their best practices and how they are navigating their organization’s challenges. One easy way is joining an industry association or (for business) chamber of commerce. Can’t find one that you like? Form one! Call up some local organizations and form a coffee meet-up group that meets monthly to “talk shop.”
4) Adopt a Culture of Change - Going back to that awkward ‘chill in the air.’ Don’t let this creep into your organization. Be very intentional within your organization that on a regular basis and especially in times of trying to overcome organizational challenges, there are just simply no ‘bad ideas.’ Once your employees, committees & boards feel free to speak their mind, the creative juices will really start to flow.
So here we sit mid-year 2017, is your organization in the place that you want it to be? Do you want it to grow strongly into the future? Continue the successes that you have found?
Yes? Great, go out, be a great leader and seek strategic change for your organization. Good luck!