Everyone has heard the phrase you can’t see the forest for the trees. The truth of it is, sometimes just trying to take then next step is overwhelming. Sometimes that leads to settling on a decision or project that isn’t the right one or wont solve the problem we are trying to solve.

The same goes for the phrase we don’t need to invent the wheel. What if we do? Carriage wheels are not exactly a good fit for our sports cars, are they?

The government and communities outsource their biggest problems to under-funded and under-resourced nonprofits and expect them to control their overhead and give every dollar to the program. This really isn’t a feasible way for us to expect complex problems to be solved.

The problem is that when we are in the midst of chaos or crisis, we can’t think about the long term. We wont let ourselves think that our project or ideas might not work. We can’t, we have to make it through to the next day or the next crisis. Complacent board members and donors with heavy restrictions complicate this situation.

What if we were to take a step back and look at the big picture? What if, we brought all of our knowledge and expertise to the table? What if people stopped accepting group think and started to ask questions before a decision was made? What if there were no good ideas so we started over from scratch?

The questions above require a culture shift. They require listening, thinking, deliberating, researching, and even being wrong. The idea of being more nimble, failing fast, and pivoting our work needs to be more welcomed and accepted in the nonprofit community.

I challenge people to think bigger, be bolder, and bring your full self to the table. The status quo isn’t working. We need to do better.

Originally published on Linkedin