Archive for February, 2011:

February 11, 2011

By Oakleigh

Posted In

General, Uncategorized

How We Face Challenges Can Define the Outcome

Everywhere we turn we see challenges. In my own community, we are faced with a funding gap of $10 million in our school budget and will see teacher layoffs most likely. Not-for-profits are fighting to deliver on their mission but with reduced donations and financial support. And companies each day work to weather a recession that may have ended theoretically but has yet to recede locally.

Over the years I have helped organizations go through such challenges as an organizational development and strategy coach. Interestingly, the outcomes were less defined by the crisis than by the approach the organization took in handling it. Some embraced the adversity and used it as a rallying cry to innovate, communicate differently, and create partnerships of shared purpose. They emerged stronger.  Others adopted what I call the bunker mentality, hoping to survive this one. They survived but just that.

In my experience, the organizations or communities that emerge the better from great challenges do five things well:

  • Innovate, ask tough questions, and develop new capabilities
  • Enlist the support of all stakeholders for ideas and solutions
  • Aggressively use communication to engage and prepare for tough decisions
  • Take both a long term and short term view
  • Focus relentlessly on what they are trying to accomplish.

I have no illusions that crises aren’t painful. But if we have to go through them, the goal should be to emerge an improved organization in a better community. Bunker or Better, it’s a choice.

* Oakleigh’s blog was adapted from her Letter to the Janesville Gazette Editor published February 8th, 2011.