The 8 Qualities of Organizational Vibrancy: Takeaways from Innovation Labs

On July 12, more than 100 nonprofit and community leaders gathered at the Warehouse Theatre to celebrate organizational vibrancy. Tan Davis and Debbie Nelson conducted a presentation on the importance of vibrancy in organizational culture. Attendees then participated in Innovation Labs facilitated by Greenville community leaders and discussed one aspect of vibrancy based on the presentation given by Davis and Nelson. Here’s what the groups had to say about each quality.

Approach and Path:

  1. Change is good, and diversity is necessary.
  2. Be a LEADER, not a BOSS.
  3. Invest intentionally.
  4. Everyone needs to feel vibrant to feel effective and connected to the work.
  5. Sharing success drives engagement.

Accountability and Impact:

  1. Local success can translate to larger impact and serve as a model.
  2. Participate in statewide associations to increase impact.
  3. Think about what accountability means to you and your organization’s culture, and then implement ways to hold each other accountable.

Language and Words:

  1. Move negative connotations or comments to positive ones. For example, instead of saying “Busy,” say, “Good Busy.” Instead of “Stressed,” say, “Excited.”
  2. Balance caring and being productive.
  3. Ask yourself if you really want to know how someone is doing before you ask.
  4. There are different comfort levels with sharing, and responses will vary by person and department.

Visuals and Optics:

  1. Know your audience, and create sub-brands.
  2. Both your in-house and out-of-house personas are important.
  3. Show “no shame in your game!
  4. Consider what you want people to see when they visit your organization.
  5. Think about what stands out and what’s not seen.
  6. Keep the vibrancy discussion going among your team.

Curiosity and Candor:

  1. A culture of curiosity builds trust and understanding.
  2. Candor coupled with compassion and empathy is key.
  3. Consider things you know that others should, and what others know that you think you should.

Diversity and Inclusion:

  2. Be proactive!
  3. Change needs to happen both internally AND externally.

Vulnerabilities and Vices:

  1. Be authentic.
  2. Challenge yourself to move forward and step outside the box.
  3. Don’t town down your vulnerabilities – “Turn down for what?!”
  4. Both verbal and non-verbal communication are important.
  5. Confidence is a key to a vibrant culture.
  6. Diversity of personalities is just as important as diversity of backgrounds.

Energy and Tone:

  1. Stay true to your mission.
  2. Give as much energy as you can.
  3. Negativity “zaps” you and any chance of progress.


We hope to see you on September 27 and November 17. To learn more about the remaining two sessions and registration, click here!

Posted July 21, 2016 in: Blog by Debbie Nelson

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