Sometimes I start a blog post and don't like how it sounds, so I may bench it for a time where it sparks my interest. I started this last year and just came back through it again.
I was thinking about a time where I was helping a family "in need" to spruce up their home. We were doing a lot of work to the person's yard and some interior patchwork, but I remember wondering how this home got in this condition to begin with. There were members of the family standing around and not so nicely critiquing the effort a stranger was making on their own time, out of their own pocket, to fix up their family home. I also remember I was thinking, if it was so important to you, why didn’t you step up and fix it yourself?
While there are any number of things we can talk about in that regard, I’m just going to share this one today. It is the reality that we can polish the outside of the house and fix the cosmetic damage, but if the foundation is unsound, it’s just a matter of time before the place falls apart anyway. Given the short amount of time we were spending, this home would become acceptable for a period of time, but the overall neglect of the structure for many years only doomed it to eventual failure.
If you truly want organizational success, putting a shine on everything is nice, but the heart of the issues lie at the hearts of the people involved. Together, all that we do, especially in the promotion of our core values and our mission, all works together with shiny fire trucks and ambulances, the uniformity of deployment, procedures, etc.. to create a strong structure. But without the strong foundation of shared values, the organization will not be a lasting success.
Efforts to progress should be positively directed forward, not looking backward, except in an effort to gain perspective. Even then, our look in the rear-view mirror should be brief. If we stare at the rear-view long enough, we are bound to crash into what is in front of us.