Be a “disruptor” and create positive change
Non-profit housing providers across Ontario know that our sector is in a period of tremendous change. This is exciting, but it can also be intimidating. When faced with change, how can we adapt our attitudes and habits to make room for progress and new ideas?
Best-selling author and creativity expert Ron Tite challenged us at the 2017 ONPHA Conference and Trade Show to “disrupt ourselves” and create positive change. ONPHA spoke with him further and asked for some advice to help get us thinking about change management.
“The non-profit housing industry doesn’t go anywhere until individuals who work in non-profit housing change what they do on a daily basis,” says Tite. “You’re never actually going to see change until people change.”
If an organization’s ability to adapt is actually dependent on our own willingness adapt, Tite has a few suggestions on how we can learn to be more flexible and creative as individuals.
“I think one of the most important things people in non-profit housing can do right now is to be ‘anti-establishment’,” says Tite.
Many organizations, he says, try to take a short-cut to success by finding an example of a successful model and attempting to replicate that model to a tee. Instead of trying to game the system, organizations should embrace trying new things.
“The problem is that when you try to [follow another organization’s rules] you find that those rules no longer apply because the world is changing so rapidly. And even if they kind of apply, they are based off of somebody else’s success,” says Tite.
It can be intimidating to go where no organization has gone before where there is no track record of success to lean on, but learning to be comfortable with failure will help us “get to a place where great ideas and great executions emerge,” he says.
Senior management has a key role to play when it comes to fostering a workplace environment that encourages such risk taking. They can create a culture of creativity simply by empowering staff to be themselves.
“When we’re ourselves and when all of our imperfections are showing – as long as the imperfections are still in line with the organizational values – then I’m much more honest, and much freer to explore new areas, and much more comfortable being myself. And when I’m myself, ideas appear,” says Tite.
“When I’m trying to be a person I’m not, that’s a very closed existence and you just end up following the script. No good ideas come from someone who is following a script.”