It Chooses Us

 

 

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
Limited  opportunities
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

 

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