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What If.....

Think about what your organization would be like if things suddenly changed and you needed to rebuild a department, your place in the company or the entire company changed its services and products. What would you build, do and be?

If you're business or nonprofit organization has been around for a while, you can most likely spit out the company mission statement and key performance factors at the drop of a hat. If you've been doing the same thing for a while, then you're probably performing at a high level of understanding of the culture and business model. But, what if things suddenly changed? What if the business model failed, your were no longer effective and your team was at a total lost. That would mean that EVERYTHING would need to change.

A few months ago, my leadership team a nd I were led through an exercise that asked us to write down what it would be like if we no longer had key departments. What would we lose if we no longer had Finance Retail, IT, Maintenance, HR, Development, Mission or Commercial (Business) Services departments?

We broke up into groups and listed what our organization would be like without these crucial departments. All of the comments listed negative consequences. There was not one positive outcome to losing any department. We all realized how important every single department was to the whole of Goodwill Industries of East Texas and how important each person was to culture of the organization.

This allowed us to move quickly into what we could each do to learn more about each department, so that we could work even more collaboratively together. What could we do to strengthen each department in a way that added value to the organization as a whole?

I invite you to do this exercise with your teams and then dig a bit deeper by following up with another exercise that causes the team to what each department could afford to lose or change that would add efficiency to the department, save money or earn additional revenue.

These team activities provide opportunities to think differently and make choices that you might not have thought of before. It also gives the team the opportunity to put themselves in a different department for a brief moment and think about the daily tasks, obstacles and advantages.

So take a day or two to go through your "what ifs." I bet you'll come up with a new appreciation for your team and your work, and perhaps some new ways to grow, learn and innovate.

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