Over the past decade, we have worked with many “not-for-profit” organisations who have experienced an ever-increasing requirement to do more with less as well as develop a greater “business” focus in order to compete for resources. As a consequence, several have identified an increasing distancing and separation from the “spirit” in which they were created. Strategies such as cost-cutting, restructuring and increasing workloads are often linked by staff to an “increase” in rules, an isolation from the genuine role of the organisation and a perceived loss of the principles and/or values for which it stands.
Whilst the economic climate continues to pressure these organisations, there is, at the same time, a growing search amongst them for mechanisms to:
– rebuild the culture
– refocus on the reason for being and the Values that underpin this, and
– renew the “spirit” of what the organisation stands for
in order to ensure that both their clients and their staff are supported and retained; which in turn will strengthen their presence in the “not-for-profit” sector.
What we know is that the toughest part of achieving such results is to find new ways of doing this rather than using same systems and processes that got the organisation to this point. ‘No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew.’ (Albert Einstein)
“Renewal” is an opportunity to look for ways that regain the involvement of others in the organisation’s direction and ways of working. However, it also needs to be achieved within the complexity and pace of the current business environment – as that is not likely to go away. What is important is determining what the current priorities are in making it a reality and not ending up in the same place.
An organisation achieves its results through people, yet they are not often significantly linked in identifying what is to be accomplished.
“Renewal” calls for a refocus on involving them in determining what is both important and meaningful i.e. closely linking business intention and direction and their roles in supporting that. It focuses on achievements and opportunities for improvement related to the organisation and its Mission as well as the aspirations that people hold for their own development within this.
“Renewal” involves an initial focus on:
· ensuring that the organisation is clear about why it exists
· understanding what differentiates it from others
· determining how it knows it is successful (using a balance of measures)
· identifying what core capabilities it expects of everyone – regardless of their position, whether they are paid/volunteer e.g. social responsibility, collaboration
· identifying how it see the Fundamental Principles or Values “in action”
· identifying what style and quality of leadership we require as a consequence
Once this has been achieved, the organisation is in the position of determining what it needs to keep doing, stop doing and start doing in order to succeed. With clear guidelines regarding direction and ways of behaving in place, policies and practices can be assessed in terms of relevance and priority – in fact, decisions may be made to completely remove or review specific areas as they no longer have relevance.