Call Things By Their Right Name - Lessons from a Pandemic (Part 1)
Leaders love change!
Generally speaking, people resist change. It is uncomfortable, confusing and unsettling. Leaders are different. We love change! Especially when we are in charge of it. We see change as a vehicle of bringing our future visions into a very real and present reality.
Based on that knowledge, these past 18 months should have been an amazing experience for most leaders as we have navigated through this pandemic. I have counted eight major pivots for my nonprofit organization during this time. Why am I not excited about all these changes? This should be the highlight of my time at Teach My People.
Instead I am tired, beat up and ready to go back to the way things were. Why the shift away from change?
I read a Chinese Proverb about two years ago. It didn't fit for me back then but I had a sense it would bubble to the surface someday. The proverb says this: “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.”
I always prided myself on change. Allowing our nonprofit to constantly evolve to be a better, higher quality organization with each evolution. The end product of change benefited those we serve! But in this model we owned the change.
Then the other day it hit me. I finally came into some wisdom and was able to call what we were going through by it’s right name. We have not owned the change these past 18 months. The pandemic has owned the change! The pandemic has called the shots!
The pandemic has owned the change!
The pandemic has called the shots!
Our constant pivots did not increase the quality of our program, but rather the pivots were for sheer survival. With this recognition of ownership I am now slowly investigating and praying through what God would have us take back. Here are three things I believe I am hearing from God. Three things to help transfer ownership back to our organization:
Invest In My Team. During the pandemic we have had the opportunity to increase more development days with our staff. This was always a challenge when our program was in full force before the pandemic. We had development days… but there was always a rush to get back to the programs we were running.
These new development days have been extended and has given us time to walk through our staff and student values. Ensuring our organization's culture will continue to drive what we do and how we do it.
In addition, our executive staff was able to spend an entire day with the company Five Capitals, learning how to communicate better with each other.
These days together, building our team, is the future investment needed for when our organization goes back to a normal operating schedule.
Get Rid of Waste. Organizations have a way of gathering up non-mission related items as they makes its journey in helping others. Sometimes these "good things" start choking the mission's time, energy and resources. This pandemic has given us the ability to pause many programs and given us a clean slate as we are slowly starting back. As we reorganize, we will only continue with those programs and rythms that support and move our mission foward. Lesson Two in the next few weeks will be on this topic which I am giving the title: Don't waste a perfectly good pandemic!
"Don't waste a perfectly good pandemic."
We Were Never Really in Control. As most know, Teach is a Christ-centered, nonprofit organization. This means that we fulfill our mission out of a love and devotion for Christ and it is our desire that His purposes prevail in our organization. During these past 18 months I have seeked Christ more, prayed more and now read through the a chapter of Psalms each morning (along with my normal Bible devotions). During this last year I believe we have all realized how thin the vaneer is with us being in control. It has caused many of us to fall back into seeking Chirst for answers, security and peace. This is a very freeing position for a leader. This will be the theme of the third lesson in a few weeks.