life would be easier if things didn't change

How Change in Your Context Leads to Fear – or Innovation

Life would be easier if things didn’t change, but they do. Life would also be a lot more drab if things didn’t change. Organizations would be a lot more stagnant if things didn’t change.

Every nonprofit does its work in a context, and when that context changes, life gets scary. For North American international Christian mission organizations it can look like this:

1.      Churches used to have big, annual mission conferences. Now they don’t. Scary: maybe it’s going to be a lot harder to get visibility, funds, and recruits.

2.      Missionaries used to get most of their support from churches. Now they don’t. Scary: individual support is more volatile, comes in smaller amounts, and requires a lot more time and effort to build and maintain.

3.      Donors used to love giving to their missionaries. Now they love giving to national believers, with a lot more bang for the buck. Scary:  maybe missionary-sending organizations will become extinct.

That’s just a start. I could list a dozen more changes. All of them scary.

Now think about your organization, and your context. What are the changes? How do they make life scary?  

Which brings me to a quote from the late, great Peter Drucker. By the way, read the classics. His Managing the Nonprofit Organization is a classic. So what if it was written 30 years ago? It is such a brilliant book that any nonprofit leader reading it today will still find it conceptually rich and wonderfully practical.

So, to the quote (p. 12): “Organize yourself for systematic innovation …. Look for changes as indications of an opportunity for innovation.”

The moral of this story: don’t let change drive you to fear. Let it drive you to innovation.

love, joy, peace … Michael Michael is a freelance consultant to nonprofits, with an emphasis on research. Contact him for a free, one-hour consultation.

Vol. 1 No. 7

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