ASK : “Is growth a good problem to have? How can we weigh the cost of choosing change versus protecting comfort?”
APPLY : Thanks to a series of top ten rankings, Elmhurst College has experienced tremendous growth in the past decade resulting in increased enrollment, new construction, expanding faculty and, of course, expected headaches with issues like parking, housing and class size. Recognizing that growth and change don’t occur without headaches, Elmhurst College’s leadership team has methodically worked on these challenges with innovative solutions like offering free bicycles to students and staff who agree to keep their cars off the campus.
May Creek Lodge, an assisted living facility in northern Minnesota, decided to expand their services to include “memory care cottages” so that they could create the ability to serve the growing segment of the population suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Not surprisingly, the cottages filled up quickly causing the May Creek leadership team to confront the task of recruiting, developing and retaining competent caregivers in a rural area where the talent supply is short.
So far, both Elmhurst College and May Creek Lodge are meeting their challenges with innovation and success although not without considerable pain.
ACT : If we innovate, everything changes. During the uncertainty of the current economic times, it’s tempting to take cover and ride out the storm. Is this, perhaps, a time when we should be agitating change? The Team Clock model educates us about the relationship between the innovation and distancing phases of a team’s growth. While instinct usually dictates the choice to stay safe and avoid change, judgment suggests that protecting the status-quo could lead to a reactive, defensive posture rather than proactively driving our organizational destiny.
Leveraging healthy conflict and earned trust to create something new in the face of uncertainty requires bravery. The resulting innovation equates to a conscious decision to invite change and all of its consequences.
How’s your bravery score these days?