“Initiative is scarce. Hence valuable.”
I love this line and, I have to admit, I stole it from Seth Grodin’s 2011 book Poke the Box. This sentiment can be especially true of nonprofit organizations who become afraid of failure or who desire to protect limited assets at all costs. We become afraid of failure so we search and search for the 100% solution before we get off the dime.
There is not a 100% solution and the United States Marine Corps gets it right: Find a 70% solution and take action. Besides, once you start the mission you are going to throw the solution you developed out the window and adapt to what is in front of you. The environment is changing for nonprofit organizations daily. There is no end in sight.
So move. Get up and do something different.
Can you identify the one person in your organization who is “the idea guy or gal?” He or she is usually coming up with new ideas at least once a week. Many of them are never viable. Many seem to risky. Other ideas presented make you pause and think, “What if?”
We live in and work in a knowledge based economy. If you are fortunate enough to have a skilled knowledge worker in your organization you need to do to things: 1) encourage the ideas to continue and, 2) give them permission to fail. Poking the box doesn’t mean the answer is right and it doesn’t mean the idea is going to work.
What it does mean is action. Give your team permission to fail and watch the new initiatives blossom. Allow an environment of free exchange and use your staff as a creative team. Give your best knowledge worker the task of solving your single biggest challenge and publicly appoint him or her as your champion.
So that is it for now. Nonprofit have to engage, adapt and take action. So it is time to dust of your Thriller album (or CD or iPod) and crank up “Gotta Be Starting Something.”