Case Stories

When Change Is Thrust Upon You

17. When change is thrust upon you

This story is true, but names and details have been changed to protect anonymity.

His father had founded the non-profit organization. And funded it too. And started its single biggest initiative. Years later, the father had passed away and the initiative was fading. His son didn’t know what to do. “All we’ve been is all I’ve known,” he said, “and now we have to be something different. But what?”

He wanted to honor the legacy of the past while needing to become newly relevant for the future. It was going to take an entire remake of the organization’s business model, and knowing where to begin was stumping him. “What if we fail? What about all these people and their jobs? What about the perceptions of the organization in the eyes of the public?” He was asking many of the right questions, but from a position of fear.

“It’s OK not knowing exactly where you’re going,” we answered. “In fact, it would be impossible at this point to know it. The first and most important thing is to come to a place where you can articulate what exactly it is you want. The how, where and when can come after.”

That was enough to settle him in on setting a course for the future and making a commitment to positive change. Knowing he wasn’t the first to face such an existential challenge was itself a comfort.

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