Nearly every non-profit or religious organization I encounter has a number of “sacred truths” that are literally destroying their forward momentum. No, I’m not talking about the Truth of the Bible, or the religious or visionary principles the organization may be founded on – I’m talking about other “truths” that in many cases are worshipped just as seriously. Sometimes it’s management ideas, other times it’s market ideas, or myths that have lasted so long, no one even remembers how they started. The truth is,
companies change, culture changes, people change, and trends change, and if we’re not questioning how we do things on a regular basis, it won’t be long before we get left in the dust.
Example: If we re-brand our non-profit or religious organization to reach younger audiences, the older supporters won’t like it and stop giving.
That might be true if an idiot does the re-brand. How do you make that transition well? Sell it to the older generation. After all, who doesn’t want to reach a new generation with a message of hope? Don’t just switch everything without any notice. Take the time to sell the change on the audience and supporters first. Make them part of the process, and share your vision with them. Remember, you don’t see 70 year olds in iPod advertising, but seniors are one of the fastest growing markets for digital music players. Everyone wants to be contemporary and cool. Let the current audience be part of the change and you’ll be surprised at your success.
Example: Churches generally appeal to an older demographic.
Where have you been lately? Obviously not to Phil and Holly Wagner’s Oasis Church or Erwin McManus’ Mosaic. The vast audience in those churches on Sunday mornings are 20-somethings, and most of them are single. If I show up, I feel like the oldest guy there. Young people are searching for faith, and if you’re smart, you’ll take advantage of the trend.
Example: It’s not the “Christian” thing to fire people.
Have you ever thought it might exactly be the “Christian” thing to fire someone – in order to help them find the real job they were born to do? Too many religious organizations and non-profits let their compassion overrule their reason when it comes to underperforming employees. No one wants to be in a job that’s not right for them, but few have the guts to quit. Help them find the right position. If they’re not performing, they’re not just hurting your organization, but their hurting themselves, because you’re giving them a false sense of accomplishment. If you do it right, they’ll thank you later.
What are the “sacred truths” around your office that you can eliminate? Don’t be brutal and surprise people, but start by letting your office associates read this post, and then start looking together for ideas, myths, and policies that are keeping you from achieving success. Then come back and share some with our readers. Your experiences might be just the thing that can expose a sacred truth to another reader out there.