Even the most well-run organizations can develop a habit of remaining in their comfort zones, refusing to change course even if they know they should – and even if they know the consequences of failing to act. Often, leaders will convince themselves that the current state is somehow fine and fixable. Or, they concede that they must live with it because there is no time, budget or appetite for broad-scale change. As a result, they continue operating in the short term, waiting for silver bullets and creating odd workarounds instead of systemic change. All the while, the organization and the pursuit of its mission stand still.

But the reality they aren’t facing is why they feel so subject to the status quo. Why aren’t they giving themselves (and often their teams) the freedom to design for a new day – from a clean sheet of paper? This often has little to do with time and budget. It’s a hesitation to take on the real issues out of fear for getting it wrong. We see this in leaders and organizations of all backgrounds, especially when they find themselves at a crossroad. They’re stuck, and I know many of us have felt stuck in our work at one time or another.

Interestingly, the pandemic pushed us past this fear. We suddenly became more scared of not acting than acting and getting it wrong. The time in the unknown gave us the freedom to think big and differently, and it created urgency to bring about new ideas. While none of us wanted this to be the way change happened, it was an important reminder of how we should have been thinking all along.

Even though we might say we’re carrying the renewed sense of urgency and inspiration forward in our organizations, I fear there are clear signs we are not. In too many places, we are simply iterating on what was, rather than taking the opportunity to build on what we learned. Perceived constraints are again starting to cloud our ability to see – or even dream – what could be.

The scale of today’s challenges requires confidence, creativity and resolve. We must stop working at the margins and give ourselves the freedom to embrace the drawing board, especially where it matters most. We must believe ourselves capable and not be afraid of failing, for not getting all the way there still means getting somewhere.

This hesitancy to act and bring out real change can affect any organization, especially nonprofits where resources are often limited and staffs are smaller. At my company, Mapt Solutions, the refusal to accept the status quo when it’s clearly not working is at the core of our mission. That’s why we’re offering an opportunity for nonprofit leaders to take a fresh look at what they’re doing and expand their reach by launching the Mapt Transformation Challenge.

The competitive grant opportunity will provide the chosen nonprofit with a $75,000 planning grant to partner with the Mapt team and an additional $25,000 in cash to support the organization in acting on its plans. We invite nonprofits to think of ways they can make real, effective change from the funds. The types of transformational change the grant is designed to support include charting a new organizational direction, seizing a new business opportunity that will help with growth and expansion of impact, and enhancing organizational services for greater reach. Learn more about how to apply here by the Dec. 31 deadline. We hope the Transformation Challenge will serve as an example of what can happen when change is not discarded as too risky or too much. The new day is now – and it’s up to us to embrace it.

Brittany Krier is the co-founder of Mapt Solutions, a strategic consulting firm that helps organizations make sense of where they are, evaluate the opportunities around them and chart a bold path forward.

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