Doesn’t Work Any More   Leave a comment


Television

Television (Photo credit: videocrab)

This past summer, I spent time helping clean out the storage room of the basement.  It was long overdue and you could barely move from one end of the room to other.  In the midst of all the items that had been placed in that room were two or three old televisions.  They had been replaced years ago but since you cannot just send a television to the landfill with the week’s household garbage, they were moved to the basement until other arrangements could be made.  The reason that they were down there is that they just didn’t work any more.

If you have been a follower of my blog for a while, you know that I am part of many organizations that are in the midst of trying to vision what they are supposed to be.  These organizations have encountered challenges as they have seen their memberships decline and the energy levels reduced.  Resources are becoming limited and questions are arising all the time.  My leadership involvement in these organizations has often led me to do a lot of research and even some soul-searching.  The nagging questions that seem to arise are:

  1. How do we increase interest in our organization?
  2. How do we increase resources to accomplish our mission?
  3. How do we develop and encourage new leaders?
  4. How do we continue to make a difference in the lives of our members and our community?

I believe that in my search for answers, one of the things that has become abundantly clear to me is that one of our problems is that we do not easily admit that they way we have operated in the past just doesn’t work any more.  This does not mean that what we have done in the past was wrong.  Like the old televisions in my basement, there was nothing wrong with them when they were purchased.  Those televisions were the right ones for the needs that I had when they were purchased.  However, since the original purchase and over some years, they were not working as effectively and did not meet the needs I had when a new television was purchased.  This can be said of some of the our modes of operation in many organizations today.  One difference between my comparison of the old televisions in my home and many organizations is that instead of acknowledging that our methods and ways of being do not work any more therefore replacing them, we continue to use the same approaches.  So the effectiveness and reliability dwindles.

It has become extremely clear to me that if organizations wish to continue to exist and move into the future, there needs to be deliberate examination of how we live out the purpose of our organization.  Leaders and members will need to look at the structures and more importantly, the guiding principles of how our organization operates.  The goal is not to abandon our past but instead to review our ways to ensure that we carry the heritage of our past into meaningful ways today.  As we do this examination, we must be willing to admit that some approaches and modes of operations within our organizations just don’t work any more.

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