Landing the Plane

Arriving by plane Chicago last night the orchestrated dance of landing patterns was visible watching the planes with landing lights circling the airport.  It was a great reminder of how much energy and planning it takes to land a plane in a busy airport.  The stair-step altitude approach with reductions in speed and course all to funnel the plane into a final approach to one of the runways.  
When leading an organization do we take into account the energy and expertise required to alter the course of an existing program or initiative.

  • Some secondary schools are closing foreign language programs in favor of another language or budget cuts.  The school must support the students enrolled in the existing language courses as they sunset the program.  If they are launching a new language program they must prepare for a programatic shift.  For a period of time a school may have a duplication of staff, classroom constraints, scheduling conflicts and other challenges as they navigate the process.
  • A local foundation is moving from granting individual scholarships to a model that awards restricted funds to youth organizations.  The youth programs will then distributed the funding to children enrolled in the programs.  The end result for the recipients is the same but the process has changed dramatically.  New partnerships, forms, schedules and resources have been required.
  • The Girl Scouts of America amended their business plan and in doing so launched a realignment initiative that reduced its local and region councils from over 300 to almost 100.  This transformation has take multiple years, required a significant investment of time, money and resources.  It has been a priority and other opportunities have been delayed.

Are you committed to the change you are considering?  Do you have the time and expertise necessary to “land the plane”?  Is your organization prepared to change speeds and altitude?

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