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Organizations, small and large have rules, policies, and procedures. Yet every time, the best organizations try to become more responsive and not use the rules, policies, and procedures to avoid helping their customers and clients succeed.
With high commitment, you don't need a lot of stupid rules to get what you want from your people- staff, members, clients, and the general public. Compliance is good but commitment is way better. For the money, for goodwill, for long-term partnership and support, for any longer relationship than just a written contract signed by parties.
Purpose-driven organizations use rules, policies, and procedures as guides but not to transplant it with common sense and inventiveness. The latter missing in many organizations that are bent on becoming the same kind of entity within their field. Hence, there is no standing out and delivering greater value than what is typically expected whether it's in sales, marketing, production, non-profits, or government offices.
You can't make this up. My former supervisor from my last full-time work gave me the choice to take a leave for a few days because I had been using a lot of my Saturdays for work-related events. These events were chosen by partners and I had no control over these. He allowed me to take unofficial leaves and called it as his executive decision. If there are supervisors or directors like that who are not afraid to go past beyond rules and be responsive, staff, members, and customers' needs are responded to in the most immediate and satisfactory fashion.
If you're saving the world through your mission, you can't be operating on rules alone. You need empathy, responsiveness, flexibility, and common-sense to achieve your grand goals or your next target. If the rules get in the way of these values, scrap them.
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A few months ago, a CEO told me that it seemed, 'everything is in order.' They are moving into a new building, operations have been reconfigured to accommodate an enlarged mandate, expanded personnel, and with secured funding, it is looking promising.
When everything is in order, is it not the best opportune time to plan your next steps?
Here are eight issues that CEOs of social purpose organizations spend their time on:
-Board Leadership and Governance
-Communications and Reputational Issues
-Innovations, Adaptation and Resilience
Which of these eight issues are focused on putting out fires and which are for innovation and building capacity for the future?
They are all areas to look for innovation, adaptation, and resilience. Let your managers and staff know that they can lead to innovate in their departments. These are systems and they all overlap for the organization. Wherever you are in the chart, change happens when people and systems change.
Anticipate that something will come up when you're putting things in order as a cause and consequences of those actions. Growth requires vigilance to outcomes and the resoluteness to continue in the direction of change. Ultimate, it's about minds, hearts, and systems in complete synergy and harmony.
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Provocation, as I heard from a Rotary Club member after my presentation, was something very negative to him. He was fed up by the polarization in our politics and culture, those that always demanding something and always looking for ways to tell someone should reform or else global destruction is at hand, instead of just aiming for common good.
While I recognize the current woke and cancel culture climate which we operate, I digress that positive provocation is more about not pushing, but encouraging, not forcing someone to change their views even with the word Provocateur or Provocation. Provocation means you're not settled with the status quo, however long it has served your purpose. It's always for positive growth, more relevance for the upliftment of all. It's about challenging norms that are no longer useful, thus, we can take some lessons learned from others, and adapt accordingly.
The woke culture of today denigrates everyone who is not in conformity, kills dissension and creative expression, and polices everyone's thoughts and feelings, making one feel ashamed and guilty of one's roots and privileges. Hitler's campaign was successful because it tackled the identity of German culture and ascribed a higher sense of importance over other races, ethnicities, and identities and loyalties of the German people.
Positive provocation is an antidote to the complacency in many organized systems around the world. Innovation, as Schumpeter defined is about 'creative destruction.' Taken in extreme literal way robs it of its substance. Innovation is doing and making things differently, whether it's a product, service, system, network, or process.
Positive provocation in the world of charity, development, humanitarian, and philanthropy requires a healthy dose of passion, purpose, provision, practice, and the right paradigm (5Ps). That to me is the philosophy of being a provocateur or a positive instigator.