Challenge The Status Quo

"Change" courtesy of busy.pochi on Flickr
courtesy of busy.pochi on Flickr

“We can’t.”

“Why not?”

Lots of times there isn’t a good reason. Or even an articulable reason.

(Happy New Year! You have my good wishes for 2013! This has nothing to do with that, though I suppose you could adopt “challenge the status quo” as a resolution.)

From questioning the way you track prospect visits to revamping a newsletter concept to adding a theme to an annual dull event, don’t accept that which can be changed–and should be.

Have the courage to question to find out what can be done differently.

There’s just no need to live with that which you can make better. And no one more qualified to call the question than you if you’re in the trenches, on the ground, doing the work, suffering the stupidity.

Question. Challenge. Reject. Revolt.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the only ones who do.

Change doesn’t come in enormous, monumental shifts. It comes from incremental steps.

Take the first step. Ask why.

Nothing is perfect when it first arrives, so don’t let fear of imperfection hold you back. Be willing to make the change, then learn, improve and hone.

A boy scout leader wisely admonished me in my teens: tradition is often a mistake made more than once.

Don’t fear change. Don’t fear the unknown.

Challenge the status quo.

4 thoughts on “Challenge The Status Quo

  1. Root causes and ultimate breakthroughs. These are indeed very hard, but we shouldn’t shrink from the challenges. Thanks, Gray, for your insight and inspiration. Bravo!

  2. I remember a CEO of a not for profit cancer support service talking to her staff at a morning meeting and telling them that the organizations main objective, their reason for existence was to eventually make them all redundant as they would find a cure for cancer and there would be no longer any need for their social service. A bold statement, a bit easier for her as she was near retirement, but it did cause staff to look at each other in trepidation at the realization that their profession was in the active business or doing away with their profession.

    However in reality very few not for profit social service organizations take this threat seriously or actively look for innovative solutions for their social cause.
    In fact they often do the complete opposite by encouraging clients to become more dependence on their services, especially when the not for profit receives external funding which requires regular accountability reporting confirming the maintenance of a minimum number of clients using their service at any one time.

    I have been guilty of this myself in proudly promoting to the media the yearly increase in demand for our food bank services. What I was really trying to convey was the worsening economic situation of our marginalized clients necessitating them using our service however what came across was us providing “hands up” charity, temporarily addressing a physical need but not tackling the underlying reason of their financial difficulties be it addiction, poverty, homelessness, racism or unemployment.

    Not for profits have a moral, ethical and even fiscal obligation to never accept the social status quo of their clients. We can never accept that providing support services is enough without also taking practical steps, every day, to get to the root cause of the actual problem and then introducing innovative solutions to create permanent change.

    There appears to be a mindset out there that while we are doing very important work we need to remain cautious and not risk failure as peoples lives are at stake.
    Yes, social service not for profits offer wonderful support to their clients but most find trying to figure out how to solve the problem they’re working on is just too difficult.

    That’s because it’s hard, incredibly hard, to solve these difficult world problems.

    While no one is expecting miracles from not for profits we should be expecting new, insightful method which can solve, some, if not all, of the initiating problems.
    So I say to not for profits, try again and fail again to be innovative. To have real meaning not for profits must be continually experimenting with innovation and new ideas until they make the ultimate breakthrough.

    We can then all go home satisfied on a job well done.

  3. So, you think I’m shallow. :> Absolutely, here’s a few:
    For a university client, we scrubbed gift annuity direct mail concept that had been giving lackluster outcomes. We hired a new writer and gave her carte blanche. From the first piece she wrote for us, we got half a dozen new gifts, including a six-figure. I witnessed another client revamp its relationships with local offices. They assigned a person to each office and became high touch with fundraising support. Average giving is up across all the locations and poor performing ones are now meeting goals.

  4. I enjoy reading your take on development on your radio show and in your writing. For this post, I would have liked to have seen some concrete examples of change agents who have succeeded/failed for better or for worse. I get the overall concept of this post (and as a blogger I tend to stay lean and mean so I understand your brief dip into this concept), though do you have more fodder for those of us who are hungry for test cases? Thanks for this opportunity to comment and great work! Love the video!

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