Organizational Balance

When organizations go through transitions and changes, they often lose their organizational balance.  Whether the executive director has resigned or the term of a community-engaged Board Chairman has come to an end, the balance changes and an organization can find itself struggling for stability.  And it’s not just a leadership change that can cause this potential loss of steadiness.  This imbalance can also occur as the result of a public relations crisis, a dramatic financial change (either up or down), or the loss of a significant program, patron, or venue.

During my first year of college, several of my friends decided to help me recover from a breakup with my boyfriend.  To make a long story short – I drank way too much. They eventually took me to my room and put me down on my bed.   When they came back to check on me, I complained that the room was spinning and I couldn’t make it stop.  My friends explained to me that I had to put my foot on the floor in order to regain my equilibrium.

When an organization seeks to regain its equilibrium during times of change, transition, or crisis, all of the players need to put their feet down.  They need to find ways to be solidly grounded in the core mission.  Some organizations are best served by focusing internally and others succeed by going to their community and solidifying their role as part of that community.  Many organizations scale back and simplify their programming until they can stop the spinning and find their footing once again.

What’s your experience?  How does your organization maintain its balance?