Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Organizational Change

The non-profit I work for is over 100 years old and I think some of its practices date back about that far. In the past year, a lot of steps have been taken to restructure how we work both here in the US and in the nearly 40 countries we work in around the world. It's been painfully slow and unfortunately I'm caught right in the middle. A full transition of the volunteer program I've designed cannot happen until the restructuring has taken place. I cannot relinquish my responsibilities as the Recruitment Coordinator until changes have happened. Both of these roles are ready to be transitioned. It's like I'm on the brink of a precipice, balancing on the edge, trying not to fall over and yet desperately waving my arms, searching for anything to grab onto to keep me from falling.

Today I met with Dave, the head of our office. He was my boss for about a year until I moved to a new division in September. I wanted to present him with my thoughts on the restructuring and an idea that I had had about how it could look. In the course of our discussion, I asked him what I'm supposed to be doing right now. Do I move on with the plans I've recommended for the volunteer program since it hasn't been moved yet? When will we post the Recruitment Coordinator job description so that we can get someone hired for that role? I'm caught in the middle of the transition and it's not a pretty place to be. He feels like I've exhibited a lot of patience in the midst of all this. I had to quickly set him straight that I've been anything but patient but I also pointed out that perhaps God is using him as as instrument to continue the lessons I'm taking in patience. Patience 101, I think it's called. I'm a lifelong member of this class.

Our meeting ended with no resolutions and, if possible, even more ambiguity than I felt before I walked into his office. I try not to get discouraged but some days it's so hard. I wish someone would just make a decision, implement it and let the chips fall where they may. No plan that anyone devises will please everyone and it would be silly to try and come up with one. Dave seems to be a peacemaker and I think it's difficult for him to make a final decision knowing that he has to deal with the resulting fallout. I don't envy him, it has to be a tough position to be in. I try to remember that and pray when my frustrations mount. After all, organizational change takes time. We didn't get into the mess we're in overnight and we certainly won't fix it overnight either. One step at a time, one teeny-tiny step at a time.

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