Not in his goals but in his transitions man is great.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Every organization has a rhythm. A rhythm that is uniquely its own. It is filled highs and lows. Times where it may seem to only whisper and other times where the volume seems to be permanently turned to 10.
We have a rhythm. A rhythm of disorientation, growth, reorientation and transformation. These are key periods in the life of a nonprofit. Some times we step boldly into the unknown willingly- with careful thought and planning- but many times not.
We don’t choose it, it chooses us.
Many times is it accidental and mysterious or comes from a place of pain and stress. We take charge and plan carefully weighing all the options. Evolution. A new chapter.
Times of change can involve new relationships, new partnerships, new places or new projects.
They can just as easily be triggered from securing a huge grant or having your executive director give notice.
New goals. New direction.
New goals are scary. They move us from our comfortable settings, from the communities that we know and even more importantly the communities that know us.
It may mean unpacking old baggage, exposing flaws and learning new skills.
Signs of major transitions:
The struggle for resources and exposure
The need to create new program models
Inconsistent program results
Decreasing donations and shrinking funding base
Management by crisis
Opportunity and turmoil.
Be mindful that transitions can take toll on your organization mentally, physically and socially.
Staff may start to call in sick more than normal, because they really are getting more colds and viruses.
If your organization is in the middle of a transition:
Take your time with it. Do not rush the process.
Do not act, just to act. This is difficult place to be as our culture admires action, but we need to bring things to a natural end and discover what we need to learn.
Be uncomfortable. I did not say you have to like it but understand the anxiety, old fears and distress are expected and necessary- they denote change is happening.
Create temporary structures. Organizations and people can tolerate the inner change and evolution as long as they feel protected and have working temporary solutions while the long term ones are being worked out.
Use the transition as a learning opportunity. Who are you becoming? What skills do you need? It is an opportunity to learn new things in new ways. Be an explorer.
You will make it to the other side. Just remember, it is in the endings that new beginnings are made possible.
If you want to build core nonprofit management skills crucial to your organization’s success you can schedule some 1:1 time with me here or learn about other ways we can work together here. You can also get inspiration, ideas, resources tools and freebies by signing up for my newsletter