July 2014

So how many leaders in your organization does it take to change a light bulb?  Answer: Change - what do you mean, change?! Change does not come easily for many.  That’s true with individuals and it’s true in the leadership of many nonprofits.  While too much change certainly can do major harm, not enough change can be equally damaging.  We all learn from successes and failures.  Over the years, I’ve encountered both and have learned some lessons.  Allow me to share a few.

When employees arrive for their first day at Apple they are greeted with this inspirational note: "There’s work and there’s your life’s work. The kind of work that has your fingerprints all over it. The kind of work that you’d never compromise on. That you’d sacrifice a weekend for. You can do that kind of work at Apple. People don’t come here to play it safe. They come here to swim in the deep end. They want their work to add up to something. Something big. Something that couldn’t happen anywhere else. Welcome to Apple."

Have you ever watched a “tag team” event, like a relay race, where teammates take turns engaging in whatever activity is required? Here is another example. As a kid, I remember watching wrestling matches on TV, where two wrestlers would compete against two others. When one member of the “tag team” needed a break, or another “tactic” (or wrestling move) needed to be applied, wrestler 1 would run to the corner of the ring, slap hands with wrestler 2 (his teammate) and the match would continue. Don’t ask me what determined the winner in these tag matches – I am too old to recall that - but it was fun to watch teamwork in action.