History plays its part in the present

We had our elections this week and decided on different people to lead our country, decisions about taxes, amendments to state constitutions, and the news media tries its best to explain why a person won or lost their campaign. One of the issues brought up was the change in demographics in the country and it got me thinking about organizational culture.

In business, nonprofit organizations, or political parties, organizational culture is often what the history surrounding these are and we find change difficult in anything, let alone change from what has worked for us before. Culture is how we teach new people to our organization what we are all about and this is probably the biggest reason it is so difficult to change, but we need to constantly remain cognizant of the fact that businesses which don’t adapt soon cease to exist and thus with organizational culture. It is not to say we need to forget where our organizations started and came from, but we cannot be locked into it either.

Keeping with open communication from previous blogs, I read an article that talks about open communication being the cornerstone of making organizational cultural change easier. Some tips to going about change were found in another article I found and it also mentions how difficult change can be.

The importance is not that change is difficult, but that change must occur as times change. Just as demographics sneaked their way into the election with few noticing, business markets change, leaders in nonprofit organizations change, and social issues in the nation can sneak up on us as well. Our job as leaders is to watch out for the changes and be ready to adjust to them.

I think of my time as a leader in a nonprofit organization for this because I took the reins of leadership after a 20 plus year veteran had become ill and could no longer be in charge. He was not one to let others have much responsibility because he liked “making sure things were done right,” which meant he did it all, but I knew when I took over that this adage was going to change. Just because it worked before did not mean I wanted to do everything myself and saw it better to train others in various positions so that they would one day be ready to take my position. It takes effort to change the culture, but sure enough, given a few months of working at it, people began doing more and they actually thanked me for it later because they felt a part of the organization by having the responsibility in it. Now they were the ones writing the present which will one day also be part of the history for others just as the current “history” plays its part in the present.

I challenge readers here to drop a line, make comments on what you think or how you have dealt with change in your roles as leaders. I believe in life long learning and hope others can benefit from what we all state here.

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