First I want to thank Niki for filling in for me while I was away. As you can likely tell from her post, she is an enthusiastic and active member of our Museum family. Her post is also a great place to start the comments for this week as it highlights some vital qualities of a great organizational model.
You should understand that I did not ask for help on the blog. Niki and Susan (our Pry House education director) saw that there was a lack of activity on the blog due to some extraordinary projects and they took it upon themselves to get an update posted. They did not ask permission they simply went ahead and did what was needed. Now, in some organizations this would result in a less than pleasant confrontation. Turf wars, egos, boundary conflicts and “looking our for number 1″ all get in the way of great self initiated actions like this one.
So why were these two emboldened to take on such responsibility for themselves? Didn’t they worry about stepping on toes or making the boss mad. In fact they did not and for several good reasons.
1) Susan and Niki are both well aware that for any initiative to move forward it is critical that the mission must always come first. Dedication to mission is always a vital pat of any successful enterprise. It is not just mission though. There must be a commitment by all involved. They must see that the mission is not only vital but that it falls within the value system of all employed under it. These values become part of the mission, part of the method of accomplishment. When the mission and the values are mutually supportive then there is a winning combination that makes the organization strong.
2) Niki and Susan also understand that the mission is not about ego. The team has been groomed in the mission and values of the organization. All ego (as much as can be in any human endeavor) has been removed. All understand that the mission and its values are more important than the ego of any one of us. We have torn down the fences of “turf” and taken on the mission as a single-minded goal.
With these two things in mind, Niki and Susan were able to do what was needed for the organization with no fear of making a decision in my absence. Their actions are truly appreciated.
It is sad to see so many organizations struggling with problems that come from a lack of clear mission and a lack of understanding of the methods needed to succeed in meeting the mission goals. It is also sad to see organizations stymied by attitudes like: “that is not my job”, That is not YOUR job”, “not my department”, “I wouldn’t go there if I were you” and the always popular “who authorized this!”.
If your mission is clear, your tactics well communicated to all involved, boundaries clearly defined and egos in check, then there is no limit to how far you can go. The same can be said when all employees are encouraged to lead so far as their talents allow. This takes work, practice and a desire to change, but, it is possible. The Museum was as subject to the pitfalls as much as any institution. If we can overcome, so can any organization.
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