Inclusion and organizational change – two of today’s most pressing issues facing nonprofits. And they’re interrelated. No longer can even long-term highly successful non-profits exist on the thinking and involvement of one or two cultural groups or generations. Not if the organization wishes to thrive in today’s dynamic, multi-cultural environment.
But what kinds of institutional and cultural changes are required for an organization to become more inclusive? “What can management do to attract and retain younger adults and persons of color?”
Before putting great confidence and investment in new recruitment and retention strategies, management might well start by answering a basic question, “whose organization are we serving and whose future are we preparing for – ours or theirs?”
Successful organizational change leaders heed the advice of noted management consultant Margaret J. Wheatley, who said, “there will come a time (perhaps many times) when we must change form to preserve function.”
That’s the first order of business. We need to re-configure our manner of operating from what has worked for us, to what will work for and appeal to today’s more multi-cultural generations. We Boomers have had our day. It’s all about multicultural talent designing the future in entirely new ways with entirely new energy. For “legacy leaders,” it’s time for us to exercise the courage to embrace change and the selflessness to let go.
Changing an organization, especially an established one, takes patience and finesse. Sure, we can and should take pride in the past. But aren’t the interests of our organizations better served when we celebrate the future and enable those who’ll shape it?
Robert “Chip” Harrod