In a world where change is constant and uncertainty is a given, organizations that thrive are those that embrace agility, improvisation and the ability to pivot.
In his book “Joy of Agility: How to Solve Problems and Succeed Sooner,” author, entrepreneur and software designer Joshua Kerievsky describes agility as “being quick and clever in overcoming or adapting to new or unexpected situations.” Agility empowers organizations to thrive in the face of constant change.
These principles were vividly demonstrated at the recent Hope Summit, convened by Belmont, which serves as a platform to connect and equip Agents of Hope. During this summit, two extraordinary nonprofit organizations, Siloam Health and PreEnact Indy, showcased their remarkable adaptability and served as inspiring examples of driving positive change in diverse communities.
Siloam Health: Embracing Uncertainty as a Gift
For over three decades, Siloam Health, a nonprofit faith-based health center near Belmont’s campus, has been at the forefront of providing healthcare services to thousands of underserved and uninsured individuals in Nashville.
Dr. Morgan Wills, former CEO of Siloam Health and current Associate Dean for Clinical Education at the Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine at Belmont, emphasized Siloam Health’s unique mission where he shared an important insight from their journey: the key in managing change within an organization is viewing ambiguity as a gift rather than a threat.
In response to the evolving needs of the Nashville community, Siloam has adjusted their practices, expanded into a larger facility and introduced the Community Health Worker model to address the holistic needs of their patients. When COVID-19 struck Nashville, Siloam collaborated with the Metro Health Department, leveraging their trusted community health workers to mitigate the virus’s spread in Southeast Davidson County. Dr. Wills shared, “Two zip codes in Nashville had the highest rates of Covid incidents, and they were right where most of our patients come from… The rates of Covid over nine months went from 40% down to 25%.”
PreEnact Indy: Agility and Improvisation in Action
PreEnact Indy, based in Indianapolis and hosted by the Harrison Center, is another example of an organization that thrives through agility and improvisation – quite literally through the medium of theater arts. Their mission is to envision a neighborhood that ought to be, one that’s just, equitable and economically vibrant through art and community engagement.
Founded by Joanna Taft, executive director of the Harrison Center, PreEnact Indy was developed to revitalize local neighborhoods without gentrification. By engaging residents in the creative process and showcasing their aspirations through theater and the arts, PreEnact Indy fosters inclusivity and belonging. The outcome of last year’s event was tremendous. Following the celebration, the mayor announced a $3 million investment from the city in the neighborhood and its critical infrastructure.
This approach embodies the “yes, and” principle of improv, where the community’s collective imagination is encouraged and expressed. It serves as a powerful lesson that any organization can embrace collaboration and transform challenges into opportunities by nurturing the creativity and aspirations of its members.
Embracing the Inevitability of Change: A Universal Wisdom
The adage “the only constant is change” is attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, and it echoes the timeless wisdom of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, which reminds us that “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (NRSV).
As you delve into your own story, no matter your path, these principles of adaptability hold relevance. Change is the only constant thread that weaves through our timelines. By embracing it, we can find the strength and inspiration to drive positive change in our communities and beyond.