As part of last month’s National Conference in Boston, more than 100 management and program staff from across the country gathered a day early for training and dialogue. To kick off that day, I shared remarks on unification as an opportunity for personal growth and development.
My pre-conference speech, Destination: Success! was well-received at the time, but limited to those staff in the room. I am sharing the message more widely today.
HI-USA is moving forward, and unification is enabling it. For both staff and volunteers, HI-USA’s journey is partly each of our own. The National Conference provided another opportunity to give a wider voice to the organization’s future. And we are committed to provide plenty of others in the future.
Five principles can help to assure organizational success. For staff, they will help to inform and define our actions as we unify:
1. Build a Safe Space. Organizational change can be unsettling. We can bring additional certainty through wide communication, and policies and practices that reflect this time of transition.
2. Respect Experience. We must honor staff experience and commitment, not simply through awards, but by drawing on their insights and perspectives in building the new organization.
3. Value Fresh Ideas. While we want to honor experience and commitment, we must eagerly welcome new ideas, advanced by current staff members, the incoming staff we hire, and the outside experts we retain.
4. Practice Agility. We must be prepared to deviate from plans when opportunity or necessity requires it. And because the old fragmented organization so discouraged agility, we must actively seek to practice it.
5. Embrace Adversity. Adversity is not expected, yet is part of real life. We must more than accept it when it comes; we need to embrace it and actively learn from it.
While this particular speech was written especially for a staff gathering, unification touches many, and the principles can have meaning to staff not in attendance, and also may be of interest to volunteers as well.
It’s in the spirit of wider sharing that we made a video of the pre-conference speech that is now available on our YouTube channel. You can find it by searching “Destination Success” or clicking this link