Nancy Schwartz extended a kind invitation to me to join the first Blog Carnival of 2012. The topic this month is to share our dreams for causes, organizations or the nonprofit sector this year. What a great way to ease my way back into blogging in this new year (I’m still calling it the new year during this third week of January as a way to justify taking a long blogging break before getting back in the saddle, into the swing of things, in the groove, out of the starting gate!)
My dream is for organizational leaders to switch from viewing the world through a lens of scarcity to one of abundance. This is the prerequisite to moving away from operating fortresses to re-imagining and re-organizing themselves to look and act more like social networks. Acting more like a network isn’t about learning what buttons to push on social media channels, and it isn’t about allow staffers to use Twitter. It is, at its core, about shifting the mindset of organizational leaders from scarcity to abundance. This is also the hardest thing to shift within an organization. Most organizational leaders came of age believing that the outside world is to be feared and avoided, that the only way to manage an organization is to insist on controlling messages and messengers, on being the smartest guys in the room, always, regardless of the abundance of smart guys in the network. This switch requires truly believing, that the world is filled with people of good will, with a plethora of collaborators, volunteers and donors, and that control is not the same thing as success.
I wish I could take a big bucket of fairy dust made up of equal parts humility and courage and sprinkle it over the sector to make this dream come true. Alas, even I’m realistic to know that fairy dust is a combination of stardust and dragon teeth ground together and cannot be manufactured by humans. Sigh.
But we can do something to reach towards achieving this dream. Every one of us can give a shout out this year on land, and on line through blogs, Facebook, Twitter whenever we witness someone reaching for abundance. They don’t even have to act on it, just the recognition that the traditional default settings of command and control need to be challenged. When we see and hear organizational leaders take a break from worrying about payroll, from the constant fear that someone is out to hurt out brand, that letting go of the messengers will automatically reflect badly on them and their organizations we need to celebrate and encourage them.
I’ll also work on concocting the fairy dust.