Preventing Dry Rot


by Charles R. Swindoll

Not everybody gets “turned on” over management concepts, but most of us can profit from such information at home or church or school. Even as individuals we may find some of these principles coming in handy.

If organizations are not to become stagnant, they must renew themselves—stay continually fresh. Some years back I found some excellent guidelines for this shared by John W. Gardner in a Harper’s article entitled “How to Prevent Organizational Dry Rot.” I’ve condensed some of his thoughts here.

1. No Number 1 provided!
2. Don’t kill the spark of individuality.
3. Cultivate a climate where comfortable questions can be asked.
4. Don’t carve the internal structure in stone. Most organizations have a structure that was designed to solve problems that no longer exist.
5. Have an adequate system of internal communication.
6. Don’t become prisoners of procedures. The rule book grows fatter as the ideas grow fewer.
7. Combat the tendency toward the vested interest of a few. In the long run, everyone’s vested interest is in the continuing vitality of the organization.
8. The organization must be more interested in what it is going to become than in what it has been.
9. An organization runs on motivation, conviction, and morale. Each person has to believe that his or her efforts as an individual will mean something for the whole and will be recognized by the whole.
10. The profit-and-loss statement is not a clear measure of present performance.

Any of this sound familiar? Any of it sound helpful? Any of this reminiscent of those familiar words of the apostle Paul? “But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner” (1 Cor. 14:40).

And what about your personal renewal? To paraphrase my earlier statement: If individuals are not to become stagnant, they must renew themselves—stay continually fresh.

You think it over. Go back and look at those ten statements in that light . . . then try them on for size.

We should be more interested in what we are going to become than in what we have been.


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