• Let Go What No Longer Serves You (or Your Organization)

Last week I had the privilege of attending the capstone gathering of the Strong Field Project, a leadership and organizational development initiative for California domestic violence agencies. On an easel posted outside the main conference room was a sign that read: What can I let go of in order to move forward?

What an excellent question! Typically, we train our focus on what new skills, practices, or resources we need to acquire in order to be more effective leaders, boards, and organizations. And this is important, but it is equally important to ask ourselves what we should leave behind. 

I think there is great power in this unasked question. Just consider the wild popularity of the anthem from Disney’s animated feature Frozen, “Let it Go.” Embraced by young people and adults alike, the message can be adapted to claiming one’s independence, leaving a bad relationship, or even coming out. All tap into the idea of release — and of risk-taking.


As nonprofits and foundations chart a course forward to meet the challenges of the 21st Century, more and more will find that old solutions to new problems fail to do the job. The social sector has long recognized the value and importance of adaptive leadership, of the need to continually learn new skills and experiment with new approaches. But we have not spent nearly as much time thinking about which well-worn habits, tools, or strategies may now be less relevant. We have overlooked the imperative to “let go” of the old as we delve into the new.

Join us in the Comments below: What have you been hanging onto that may be holding you back?

Categories: Commentary

Tags: innovation, vision


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