Values and Culture

Found this little nugget in my notebook but have lost the reference to who wrote it…..big apologies…..but felt it was still worth sharing.

“My advice to leaders: Don’t cling to every aspect of the way your business works as you scale up. Stick to your core values, but recognize that you need to lead (or at least be ok with) the evolution of your culture, just as you would lead (or be ok with) the evolution of your product. But be sure you’re sticking to your values, and not compromising them just because the organization scales and work patterns need to change.  A leader’s job is to embody the values.  That impacts/produces/guides culture.  But only the foolhardy leaders think they can control culture.”

Found the writer… was Matt Blumberg….thank you Matt

transformation or production

Having worked for a number of charities, it is interesting to observe the changes as a fledgling charity grows to maturity.  Often, a new charity is focussed on people and the transformation/s  that occur in peoples lives, it brings life, encourages others to participate and there is a real sense of ownership.  However, in time, it is possible that significant shifts may occur, shifts that seem insignificant but in time will move the charity from a focus on transformation to one of production.

For example, a youth charity may begin by impacting the lives of young people and with success there may be dreams of meeting more young people, in order to help and support them.  It makes sense to meet them in a place where they spend most time, school.  This approach is good, makes sense and is fruitful.  However, it does not take too long before the measure of success becomes, how many lessons have been taken, how many assemblies, how many lunch clubs.  Whilst these things are not wrong, it does show a shift from transformation to production.  A slight move from the centre will impact the place of destination – the measure has moved from how many lives are transformed to the place of how many activities we do, so that we may transform lives.  This is a subtle but significant difference.

The same change can be seen in any labour of love as it grows and develops, as others join the cause and as funders seek to make ‘a bigger bang for their buck’  – the question we need to concentrate on is, which is most important, transformation or production?


losing our religion

After being involved in faith based ministry for a number of years, it has been a priviledge and a joy to see the excitement and enthusiasm of many different people engaging with others and seeking to serve, support and develop their community.  Releasing the passion and watching people take wings is heartwarming and gives me a buzz – even better when you see the rewards of changed lives that follow.

The difficulty I face is how we then ‘support’ these new and fresh ideas, with the idea of sustainability and growth.  Usually we begin by getting someone administrative in to work alongside the visionary, then we seek charitable status, then we seek to market things better, then we seek to duplicate and before we know it – we have a business.  The founding heart and passion is somewhat diminished, if it still exists, and there is far too much time then wasted on fundraising strategies, managing organisation and policing ‘the system’.  What has gone wrong?  Simply?  We have jumped into business and marketing principles and lost the reason why we started – Faith!

Sometimes I wonder if there is a better way – some days I just wish it could be found.

charity finances may suffer

cross my palm
Originally uploaded by thehutch

This last couple of weeks have seen such great spirit on behalf of the British Olympic Team. It is so exciting to see them achieve such lofty goals and the spirit of the nation has raised. There is also a recognition that money has helped spur the competitors and enabled them to compete at higher levels.
Nothing new here but there are the first rumblings of needs for more investment and greater financial support to help us achieve still more for 2012. The London Olympic bid has already impacted smaller charities and I must admit that these calls leave me a little more nervous about how these charities will fare if still more funding is diverted.
I want the British Olympic team to do well in 2012 but the thought of more funds being diverted from the charity sector has made me nervous…….am I right to be worried? IMHO we all need to consider the consequences of the need for Olympic success.