Muhammad Ali once said, “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” I think we can all learn from these words. Taking risks is difficult for people. It is our instinct to feel safe in our so-called comfort zone. If people can move past the overwhelming fear of failure and realize the advantages of taking more risks, the more satisfaction we will have with the things learned and the opportunities we never thought were possible. It’s time to reveal your inner strength to make great things happen!
I am sharing this story because when I heard it for the first time it made me stop and think how significant of an impact this one opportunity, this one risk, made on an organization. It’s an inspiration for us all to implement new ideas and see past barriers.
The story is about real people (our client and learning & development professional) taking a risk that transformed an organization and reinvented a leadership culture. It not only transformed an organization’s culture but also won gold for the Brandon Hall Group Gold Award for Learning Excellence. How’s that for taking a risk!
Here’s a summary of the story…The Girl Scouts of the USA was implementing an organizational transformation that included updating systems, processes, and practices to support a new sales approach to customer service and member recruitment. This initiative meant that the 112 Girl Scout councils nationwide needed to adopt the new sales approach and system migration.
The Girls Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road Council (GSKWRC) did just that and set out to train its employees on the new system and sales approach. The system implementation, adoption of new procedures, and restructuring of staff would have a significant impact on the organization, so the Council collaborated with The Training Associates to develop and deliver the sales training.
Kisha, our TTA Learning and Development consultant, came in to provide the sales training. The story does not end there but this is where it begins. During the early stages of the sales training, she uncovered a bigger problem. The needs assessment revealed the characteristics of a more disjointed and chaotic culture than expected. The Council was deeply rooted in a culture of tenured leaders that did not relate to or empower millennial employees. The disconnect ultimately caused an atmosphere of distrust and employee attrition.
It became clear to her that the Council would have to completely change its current business model before they could ever adopt a national sales strategy. So how does Kisha tell the newly appointed CEO and Chief of Staff that they had a big internal culture problem that needed to be corrected? Risk.
She had a series of honest yet difficult discussions with the executive team. I am talking closed-door discussions with truth, transparency, and difficult conversations. Kisha took a risk when she suggested a complete change in training direction – from sales training to leadership development. At the same time, the executive team took a risk and saw that change in the Council was possible.
The story is truly inspirational and amazing. It’s definitely worth the read to learn how the Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road Council transformed their stagnant legacy culture into one of innovation, leadership, and strength. This award-winning story highlights the approach, resources, and techniques used to rebuild the Council’s culture. You can also listen to the webinar recording.
With the confidence and vision to realize that change was needed, the CEO and Chief of Staff transformed the Council’s culture into one of innovation, leadership, and strength.
Here’s a shout out to you Susan, Angie, and Kisha… for taking a risk that transformed a culture!