March 11, 2009

Part of the herd?

Too many of our organizations are far too bureaucratic to be successful. As a result, the people that are supposed to be the life of our organizations fall into this trap of bureaucracy. And those that do not fall into the trap are often ostracized, excommunicated, or ripped apart in defense of maintaining the status quo. We take beautiful, creative, strong minds and force them to think rigidly and linearly, while at the same time, asking them to come up with innovative ideas.

Take a number, step in line, wait in line, fill out form, repeat. I don't know about you, but that sure doesn't seem to be very conducive to growth. Waiting in a line to fill out some forms? For what purpose? Because we are told that this is the way that it needs to be? This does not seem responsible from an organizational or personal perspective. Why waste and squander the talents and strengths that people have to offer?

"Mature" organizations have strict guidelines and policies in place. This is why business costs so much, and this is why our businesses and non-profits are closing their doors. Our organizations are too big. Too many people are doing work that isn't even remotely related to what is needed or wanted. Work is done, simply to keep busy until quitting time. There are people sitting on top of talented, motivated, and innovative people, barking orders, asking for forms to be completed, and demanding a full account of our time. And still we wonder why we are not innovative, creative, passionate? Seriously?

We need to be lightweight again, and return to the core of what we exist for. It is time to get smaller on policy and procedure, and begin providing extreme value to our customers and employees. If you really want your organization to grow and reach its full potential, you are going to have to refocus your efforts and energize the tribe. We cannot afford to be so heavy anymore. This economy will not support it. Your customers will not support it. And your employees and volunteers will certainly not support it.

Cattle move in herds. They are slow, they spend hours upon hours grazing, and if they are not prodded, they do not tend to move a whole lot. Wolves on the other hand travel in smaller leaner packs. They are cunning, and they are quiet. With stealth like agility, they can sneak up on their prey and pick off the herd on one by one.

Will you and your organization be the wolf, or will you be the beef?

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