The Importance Of
Organizational Fluidity In Times Of Crises
2020! In just a few weeks, the world changed forever. We were all forced into lockdowns, social distancing, facemasks, and elbow bumps. Our vocabulary now included words and phrases like “old normal”, “new normal”, “pre-and post-COVID”, and “virtual meeting”. All of us are now informed on the latest medical research and the procedures and protocols for developing vaccines. We now know the diﬀerence between antiviral and antibiotics. Working from home has become the norm for millions of people.
Worldwide, more than 40% of small businesses had to close down permanently. Millions lost their income. Advances that were made in the eradication of poverty over the last 50 years, were wiped out in less than 12 months. From the biggest corporations to the smallest non-proﬁt had to adjust or close down.
The rapid pace of change together with organizations’ inability to adapt to this constantly evolving world has led to the demise of many established organizations.
The importance of organizational ﬂuidity became apparent over the last couple of months. Those that mastered the increasingly complex and turbulent environment and were able to react at a moment’s notice, managed to not only survive, but even thrive.
Most businesses are designed for eﬃciency, not adaptability. Such businesses, by design, are not built to suddenly change course. A business that has embraced organizational ﬂuidity can achieve innovation, speed, and agility to suddenly change course to navigate around an obstacle without the cumbersome sluggishness of centralized control.
Organizations and leadership must position and prepare themselves to be highly ﬂexible and ﬂuid in this new world. Quick improvisation and ad-hoc responses are imperative in increasingly complex and volatile environments. A clear understanding of organizational ﬂexibility will ensure that creativity ﬂows in productive ways, not in destructive ﬁght, ﬂight, or freeze responses.
There are many variables to take into consideration in this new era of ﬂuidity. Organizations must achieve a more organic ﬂuidity, moving from hierarchies to networks, from formal rules and high levels of coordination into far more spontaneous interactions, improvised processes, and teams that have more freedom to make decisions.
EMIT reacted early in the crisis and addressed the mindsets, practices, and skills of our staﬀ that enabled us to change our structures and models. We realized the value of our more than 300 volunteers in Africa and decentralized our decision-making. Trusting our volunteers with the vision and implementation of our new model of training, proved to be one of the biggest reasons for our success in 2020.
Communicating the vision and the “Big Picture” became an important focus for the executive team. Staﬀ and volunteers were trained in new technology and soon adapted to the new realities of virtual meetings.
Creating unity in purpose was at the foundation of our eﬀorts. Goals and objectives were made clear and our teams were trusted with the implementation. The results were amazing.
This Annual report aims to share some of the victories and challenges of EMIT during a very turbulent time in history.
We are privileged to have you with us on this journey of hope. It is our prayer that you will be encouraged by our stories and lessons learned.