Seeing the Possibilities in staff and an organisation

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This is the fourth blog in my reflection of “A Modern Interpretation on Leadership in Parks”

How many times have you heard the refrain “staff are your most valuable asset”.

Apart from the fact I detest the word “assets”, it is automatically treating you as a number rather than as just an honest person.  However, how often do you find an organisation that is struggling and apparently needing to change, do leaders turn to creating Visions and have the need to have change management processes in place.   Where they suddenly need to change the Culture – to become youthful and vibrant.  What happened to that great saying “staff are your most valuable asset”.  Why does this saying get discarded so quickly?

So how does an organisation and maybe their leaders from Directors to the Senior executives find the “heart and minds” of the staff?  Rather than change the culture? It is probably these staff who have enabled an organisation to survive serious crisis’s  (think classic emergency response be it earthquake to fire) and may have been working away at achieving the foundational vision and mission of the organisation.

When an organisation is in crisis, the new leadership should seek out and understand those that day in day out “make” the difference and more importantly may know what to do to make an organisation great again.  It wouldn’t be that they are fearful of the future – they may already see and have grasp what it is and they may have a better sense of what the organisation stands for.  But how do you find these so called “assets” or the lost ones?

There is an organisation that I once worked for who have been going through this – “got to change and become youthful and vibrant”, that has had serious impacts on its ability to achieve present and future social obligations.  This journey for the organisation has meant most things haven’t progressed past the thinking that existed in 2010.  So why, haven’t they progressed or performed at the level expected (and that is not saying that there aren’t possibilities).  Even though they have been going through the youthful and nearly bohemia renewal (with limited success), there are many staff who might hold the key to the future, who might already grasp what needs to be done.

This dilemma of leadership grasping the abilities, ideas and vision of staff was brought home to me over the last 16 years, where I watched a small number of individuals create an idea, that fundamentally changed the concept of parks.  It took those staff 5 to 6 years to have the concept accepted within their own organisation but saw it expand and grow internationally as other leaders saw the possibilities in the concept.  An example of this is the USA National Parks Services where the leaders have embraced a concept from Australia and are now seen as the world leaders.

Leadership is the ability to see what is really possible in your staff.

The concept is Healthy Parks Healthy People.

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