Friday, September 21, 2007

Feel the Fear and Do IT Anyway

Yesterday we had an all staff meeting to talk about reorging some of our processes, people and work. We hired Rhea Blanken, the Organizational Alchemist (don't you love that name?) to walk us through the process.

It was an exciting meeting because we're hopeful that these adjustments will enable us to do all of the things we want and need to do - improve our productivity, enhance employee morale, improve customer satisfaction, in other words - take our business to the next level.

It was also scary as heck!

It occurs to me that this is what it's like for all organizations (and people for that matter) when they're approaching new technology. Technology is inherently empowering and scary as it is an important lever for CHANGE.

This sentiment was echoed by Kelly McShane, ED of Community of Hope, when I interviewed her for a project a few weeks ago.

"My advice for other nonprofits - technology is not a silver bullet. There is always something that will go wrong. It's just the nature of the tools. Pick wisely and most important help people manage change."

If you're thinking about introducing a new tool for your organization consider:

1) investing in training - Again, the tool is just the tool. It's only as good as its implementation. You have to give folks time to learn new technologies and get up to speed.

2) getting a coach - One of my favorite people is fond of saying, "if you want to go to the Olympics, you need a coach." None of us can make major changes on our own. We need the support, wisdom and advice of others who have gone before. By the way, this doesn't have to be a paid consultant. Talk to other organizations who have been in your shoes, get on listservs where people are discussing your issue, join the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN).

Most important: Feel the fear and do it anyway! You don't know what you know or don't know until you know it. Get IT!?


Maria said...

What happen last Thursday was a transformation conversation on how to serve our community, we just happen to use technology to do that! That's the empowering context for me - it's not just about rolling out the latest technology but it's about creating/implementing tool to bring about change in the work (one day it's Save Darfur, another it's empowering women in philanthropy, another is supporting a free clinic in DC)...

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