We Adapt to be Relevant, But …

WPAA Corporate Statement of Purpose
To provide all manner of support for the creation and distribution of non-commercial community media

What are our communities of interest? Actually, there are a few: the people engaging with what is happening locally, the people developing their media skills, and our peers supporting the creation and distribution of content.

Four decades of technology and communications transformation means there is no status quo regarding outside forces that impact the creation and distribution of community media. This means relevancy needs to connect to an assessment of the original vision, the make-up of communities, and the cultural influences on communications. What this means on the ground at WPAA-TV is that policy is subject to change, that decisions and regulations of the past are subject to reassessment, and that we cannot assume we will remain funded or that our communities of concerns, skills, and interest will consider us relevant.

Seizing Opportunities

It has been said that we are flexible for whatever or whoever walks in the door. In so many ways this is true and vital to our ability to serve. Essential to the success of our adaptive process is curiosity, impulse control, the ability to create space between thinking and re(action) and the checking of egos at the door. We adapt to be relevant. However, there are policies and responsibilities that we adhere to for fairness, good stewardship of the tools & stage, and to ensure organizational viability.

Can agility beGET Failure?

An agile organization plans and adapts. An agile senior is one with keen mental acuity. Agile is a Project Management Methodology marked by short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans intended to support quick and nimble forward movement. Effective outcomes in agile change processes paradoxically rely on a firmly established vision, goals and norms as well as adaptive leadership by both the administrator and governance team. To move quickly and easily has great value when a toddler is learning to walk, but once you are able to walk you need to know where you want to go to turn walking into success.

Community TV attracts egos like bears to honey so being prepared for their impact, good or bad, is critical to a station’s successful outcomes. Community TV, by design, helps people discover and use their voices, collectively. Egotistical people can disrupt the discovery process intended to be available to everyone. There is real potential for one emphatic person who lacks skills or experience or framework for communication, or buy-in to a shared vision, or openness to alternatives, to implode a team experience.

Guidelines and documented processes, often considered oppressive by the egoistic, are essential for transformative uncharted discovery. Every encounter can be a learning opportunity that feeds the institutional knowledge of the organization. Agile sans vision, or openness to learning by all, can be the reason that efforts to thrive can sometimes fail to survive. Process matters; improved process matters more. Equitable beneficial engagement is the vision agility must support.

Can ‘Status Quo’ be Disruptive FOR THE GOOD?

Community TV is compelled to move forward on two different footings: one geared toward efficiency and stability and the other innovation and change. Is there some aspect of doing the same things, maintaining the status quo that disrupts progress toward these ends? Is there intrinsic value in some status quo behavior? Societal transformation will happen due to the sheer ability to carry a computer in one’s pocket. Can clinging to the status quo, in an environment where the pace of change and the expectations of a population are enabled, be disruptive or retarded? It is widely assumed that status quo behavior is a barrier to change, that change is not readily adopted, and change can lead to either failure or success. Inertia can lead to opportunity costs losses, because in reality, outside forces are moving.

As survival and strategic direction is assessed it is the status quo values of democracy and equity and service that still frame any discussion of relevancy.

Crowd sourcing of ideas AND RESOURCES

Collaborative engagement has appeal in a world of diminished resources. It also appeals to funders. But it is not without its pitfalls. Small organizations, almost by definition, have limited resources. In a more connected world, engagement and collaboration are potential tools to overcome resource limits. However, it is essential to identify shared visions early in the collaboration process as these opportunities are also resource consumers and being on the giving without the receiving end of a collaboration not only feels bad it can create more imbalance. Alliances need to include an assessment of mission similarities, conflicts and opportunities. It is not as simple as a chat and a handshake to keep forward momentum and achieve outcomes across multiple domains of interest. As rules and/or policies help manage within the limits so do memoranda of understanding.

Having individuals and organization partners hypothetically infers the plausibility of relevancy. But if the only commitment of the partnering is promotion of the service you are providing is not happening, then you are merely a service provider not a partner or collaborator. Actions ultimately determine relevancy.

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