Institutional Heart


They say institutional memory is important, but in practice it’s only important until it’s not. New people with new systems can obliterate the need for it. This can be a good thing: growing pains; or not, producing loss of quality and other baddies.

But institutional heart is another matter. It involves the memory of what caused an organization to became successful. It’s the memory of those tiny slices of life — the interactions and the feelings behind them that resulted in strong connections to a target audience.

When organizations grow and lose their institutional heart, they can become hated instead of loved. This is often viewed as a necessary evil of growth and aggressiveness in business — but it just ain’t so. All it takes is the identification of the people in the organization who are perceived by the customer or community as the heart and soul of the organization — the ones who make us remember why we’re here in the first place. I’d bet that nine times of out ten these people pull their weight and are loyal to the cause. These are the folks who should be protected when change is in the air — the babies in the bathwater.

Who holds the heart to your institution? If you don’t know — ask a customer — they do.