Celebrate the excitement of change; don’t grieve over losing what had been

The story goes back 30-or-so years, the then chair of Our Lady of the Wayside’s board asked a mutual friend to introduce him to one of Columbus’ political power types. Wayside’s doors were about to close because all 80 of the children and adults supported by the agency desperately needed funding support — the traditional model of out-of-pocket payment couldn’t keep up with skyrocketing medical costs.

The chair stated his case … the politician looked at the mutual friend and shrugged … the friend said with a smile, “It’s OK, but if something doesn’t change today, all 80 of these folks could be coming to stay at your house tomorrow.” 

Something had to change

In fact, since then, everything’s changed: the public’s perception of what it is to live with a developmental disability; the industry’s approach to support and care; the standards and accountability for that support and care.

Paradigms haven’t just shifted; they’ve stood up, stretched out and done an Iron Man. The change has been more than good.

Your thinking has to change

In order to advance your organization’s mission and goals, new thinking is critical. New information, new benchmarks and new controls all need to be put in play.

You’re in the C-suite now because you know the power of creativity. Bringing it to the forefront improves your quality of product, your efficiencies and ultimately, your balance sheet.

At Wayside we’re either responding to change or creating it. It’s brought about new revenue streams, different fundraising tactics and fresh approaches to telling our story to people looking for a service provider.

Creativity has pushed how we think about our organization and how we market the agency. It’s partnered us with some of the greatest individuals and organizations in town. It’s even driven me to use Twitter.

You have to factor in change

Long range strategic plans. Short-term goals. Yes, they’re necessary and no, you’re not off the hook for putting them in place. But by now, you’re smart enough to know that the adage, “nothing is so sure as change” is cliché for a reason. Change is coming and with it, opportunity. But the day can only be seized if you and your team are resilient.

For Wayside, resilience is that “special sauce” that takes good information and strong planning and combines it with the confidence to say, “Yep, let’s go for it and even if it doesn’t work, we can go to plan B.”

Do you have what it takes to change?

Change requires the stuff of champions: strength, endurance and patience.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Terry Davis is president and CEO of Our Lady of the Wayside, a regional leader in residential,
respite, transportation and adult day care programming for children and adults with
developmental disabilities.