Looking For The Bright Spots When Trying To Make Change

It’s fair to say that the public and not for profit sectors are going through a period of real challenge right.  The continued pressures to work within an ever decreasing pot of resourcing is presenting some real difficulties.

While many organisations are struggling, it is not universal.  Even within organisations there are often what might be regarded as the bright spots.  These are those areas which despite all of same challenges are finding ways of making change, while hitting performance and service goals and living within their means.

When faced with struggles, particularly financial struggles, the temptation is to call in the experts.  The big name consultants, the transformation gurus or the super head teacher, chief executive or similar person.

While they may well be useful partners when it comes to change and realising some short term wins, it’s much more difficult to make the sustainable changes.

Another approach might to be look at either those parts of the organisation or those organisations within the sector that are delivering great performance.

Once you have identified them, you can start to look at positive deviations from the norm that are resulting in them being successful.

Of course the temptation among people to say their organisation or part of the organisation is different.

It’s easy to say this and be closed minded.

On the other hand it does not help facilitate progress and in many ways might well result in things getting worse.

So how might you do this in practice?

Start By Looking At Your Own Performance

In any situation there are likely to be things that are going well and things that are not going so well.

Identify Some Of The Top Performers

There are likely to be several top performers in the sector.  Reach out to them and ask for their help.  You might worry about how you will be perceived if you do this.  In truth most are more than willing to help.

Look At How They Operate

Try to do this over a period of time.  A quick afternoon or day visit is unlikely to be enough.  You really want to understand what they are doing differently in some of your challenged areas of performance.

Pay Attention To The Environment They Have Created

Often it’s not just about how they work but the environment that they have created that makes the difference.

For example, if you are finding that in some areas of the organisation you are struggling to attract staff, it may be that another successful organisation is creating something different that makes it an environment where people want to work in.

In reality change will always present challenges.  At the same time, looking for the bright spots can often be a catalyst for moving forward, even when things are difficult.


Goals and Achievements work with organisations and leadership teams to facilitate and support change and improvement.  Learn more here