You or your organization may be plateaued…
- If departments and people blame others for lack of organization’s results.
There’s a significant environmental difference between growing organizations and those that have plateaued or begun to decline. It just feels different…
When organizations are growing, there is an aggressiveness that marks its culture. People feel like winners and their confidence in those who lead is typically strong. Even in places where growth demands a great deal from the team, there is still a sense that it’s worth the effort because we are experiencing the results we want.
In a plateaued organization, such feelings have faded. People who aren’t seeing results are far more likely to become sensitive about the effort required of them. If victories don’t seem within reach, the passion for great effort diminishes. Ultimately, the frustration of working hard without the desired reward takes its toll…and we begin to look more for excuses to explain our struggle rather than seeking answers to bring about its end.
In such settings, where it’s not uncommon for folks to respond quickly with why something can’t be done, they are also more quick to draw tight boundaries around their own responsibilities. “Not my job” or “if marketing would just get its act together” or some similar refrain undercuts any real effort for change. If someone else can be blamed, then I’m not the one that needs to act.
One of the most common blame games in a plateaued occurs between those who produce a product and those who sell it. Marketers want a better product, noting that the best ones practically sell themselves. We can’t sell products nobody wants! Production types defend their product and insist that marketing’s effort or investment is lacking. After all, if the product sells itself, why do we need a marketing department?
In the local church, the blame game can occur between departments, like when the children’s ministry blames parents for the declining interest of children, or the youth ministry blames the school system for competing with its slate of activities, or the church as a whole blames its culture for no longer supporting its place in the community…and so on. As long as someone else is to blame, then it doesn’t feel like it’s my responsibility to act.
Starting to feel familiar now?
I’ve found that a typical meeting in such places may start with a problem we need to solve, but the conversation will usually end up identifying the real problem as something we either aren’t able to solve or believe someone else has to solve. So we blame executive leadership for their lack of whatever we need or we blame entities not in the room for their failure to do their part. Such conversations often will stir unresolved frustrations or devolve into reminiscing about days when the organization was moving forward.
While the “what to do” conversation is still yet ahead, never forget that the principal cause of plateau is lost vision. When we take our eyes off of the priority destination or the desire that once drove us forward, it doesn’t take long to land here…in the flat and barren lands of plateau.