Letting Go   Leave a comment

Letting go

Letting go (Photo credit: against the tide)


One of the most difficult things for an organization to do is to let go of the things that have had so much meaning in the organization’s life.  Sometimes organizations have events or projects that have a very storied history but are no longer relative or connect with other people and their lives.  However, because of the history and the meaning that it has had in the past for the members of the organization, no one is willing to let the project or event take the normal course of life and die.


So the question is what should the leader of an organization that is struggling to let go of something that has been valued deeply within the organization in the past do, if anything.  I think there are a couple important actions a leader can take in such a situation.  First, it is important to collect tangible data on the project if possible.  How much is being expended in financial resources and human resources to continue the project?  How many people are serviced or impacted by the project?  What benefits are obtained by the organization through the project?


The next important gathering of information is in regards to the history of the project.  Why was the project started?  What was the intention or goal of the project?  What changes have occurred within the project over its life span?  Who has been involved in the project throughout its history?


The leader then needs to work with group in charge of the project to discuss the information that has been gathered.  The leader should ask questions regarding the value of the project (not just financial but not void of financial aspects).  Questions regarding if the original goals or intentions are still part of the organizations current goals and intentions.  Questions in regard to who is being served by the project and who is willing to be involved in the project.  Finally, questions that help the group reflect upon the relevance of the project to the life of the organization, its members, and those who are being reached through the project.


Through reflection and responses to questions, the leader can help the organization discern if the project or event has purpose to be continued or if the history of it should be celebrated but the event or project be allowed to end.



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