Being stuck is not a happy place to be.
For organizations, this is more a symptom of something bigger, something problematic.
In organization, models, paradigms, ways of doing things get calcified and over time loses its meaning and relevance. While the rest of the world has dramatically changed, there are some practices that have not been examined to be effective or relevant or helpful to modern-day development actors.
Some organizations are “stuck” with one funding model, one implementing model, one education model, one strategy model, and one management model. There is no “other” way than the way it is done. There are no other seemingly alternative viable approaches. The ways of doing are such that people are rewarded to keep the status quo and any movement to change has been met with fierce and ruthless resistance.
Aid and the business of aid are becoming a tired debate issue. When developed countries give aid, they do not do alone for the sake of benevolence. It has tied, whether implicit or explicit, political, economic, social, cultural, and most of the time, ideological, colonialist agenda and considerations.
Moving away from aid model, a lot of newer organizations, networks, start-ups, and campaigns have been built with the power of connection with people in the developing countries with genuine desire to seek the best solution from within these nations and communities, amplify and scale up, and leave these communities able and empowered to chart their own future successes.
Searchers are not concerned about the roadmap, the tried and tested way or the one that is handed down by technocrats and bureaucrats in air-conditioned offices in headquarters in developed countries. Searchers are not concerned about who gets the credit at the end of the day. As long as the problem is solved or being solved with capacity to understand and learn from those whose lives are touched by it and vice versa.
Stuck is where there is a false dichotomy between surviving by cruising along for the longest time or failing because change is too risky enough. The latter has a chance to invigorate and actually create new value for the organization while cruising along is a wasteful and immoral use of organizational power.
Getting unstuck is asking the right questions. When Yahoo employee sent an letter to executives telling them how they are failing, what things are not working well, it paved the way for Yahoo to reset its course, which prevented it from declining amidst growing competitors like Google and Facebook.
Who are the searchers in your organization? Are they leading your organization to re-examine its paradigms? Is your organizational culture allowing searchers to ask the right questions?
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