How can an organization save itself from crisis?
By: Tess Worrell
I recently heard the most discouraging news. The head of a local Christian organization, and a man I deeply respect, was forced to step down in order to keep the peace between the directing board and the employees who remained. This man, along with his wife, built the organization from the ground up. From a small ministry operating out of their garage, it grew into a pivotal ministry to the community. For troubled people and for those seeking to help, this was the “go-to” first step. As it employed more people, those working in the ministry were considered the experts–all due to the faithful leadership of this couple. Now, the directing board and employees requested he step aside as the answer to the internal turmoil dragging down the ministry.
What has been the cost? For the employees, the organization, and the community–huge. And unnecessary.
- The organization will spend about 20% of his salary to find a replacement. Add training costs, lost productivity, and loss of donations due to the fall-out–the ministry will divert money sorely needed for its mission to this crisis.
- Distrust generated by both the conflict and the ousting will make relationships between those remaining more fragile and less productive.
- The “easy” out of someone leaving will likely mean the underlying issues won’t be fully addressed–ensuring they will arise again.
- The reputation of the ministry is tarnished. This man was the “face” of the ministry. Wherever he went, people approached, complimented, and connected. His abrupt and mysterious departure will cause former supporters to question and even retract future support. The sense that the ministry can expertly help those in need to address their problems has been deeply hampered by the realization it can’t even adequately address its own problems.
A better way. . .
When organizations find themselves caught in personality issues which threaten or impede the mission, engaging the services of a mediator can resolve the problems. At The Resolution Center we understand the layers of complexity in working through employment relationships. We also deeply honor the need to frame those relationships within the overall mission. Our mediators define and create a process which helps each individual express their perspectives, understand their own emotions and positions, and then explore how those fit within the larger organization.
The result? Participants find a way to redefine their interactions so that the each is respected and the mission gets back on track. There may be times when someone chooses to leave. But, that decision takes place within a healthy resolution of the issues–not a pushing out the back door that threatens the credibility of all.
- Precious resources are preserved for the work of the organization
- Trust is rebuilt throughout the process so that everyone works together more effectively
- Issues are defined and resolved–not left to resurface later
- The reputation of the organization is preserved
Organizations experience conflict. It doesn’t have to end badly. Rather than seeking a quick fix to ease discomfort, when organizations invest the time and resources in mediating the conflict they find solutions. Solutions that protect and advance their ability to do business. If your organization faces turmoil, contact us. We’d love to help.