I was working in a facility in Florida that evolved very fast. We had become a shelter with a high release rate as the result of a Maddie’s Fund grant. We were all feeling great. I felt that I wanted to feel that experience/ again.
I accepted a position with an organization with a low live release rate and wanted rolled up my sleeves to begin the task of directing the evolution of that shelter. I was unprepared for the anchor. An anchor keeps a ship from moving. Our anchor was in the form of a supervisory position within the organization and had been with the organization long before the organization was founded. An anchor is an effective tool to keep the ship from moving in a storm, but in calm waters, it prevents the ship from getting to its destination.
Nothing I could do could persuade our anchor from opposing change. The anchor didn’t want volunteers in the shelter or rescue groups. Although our board of directors wanted to see the organization move forward, they wanted this employee to be happy. It was clear that I had made a mistake in taking this job.
I saw all of the clues in letters being written about this individual in the media, but maybe my ego got the best of me. When taking on an organization, it is critical that you research the organization to make sure that the organization is ready to evolve, to move on. I discovered that even one individual can prevent the organization from moving forward.
Timing is everything. This organization would have to remain stagnant until such time as this person retires. Do not take on an organization that is not ready for you.