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Source: Top 25 Motivational Values from The Art of Giving where the soul meets the business plan by Charles Bronfman & Jeffery Solomon.
Pick your top 3 values and how these values become the fire that ignites your business, relationships, professional pursuits, and personal life. Values alignment is key to finding lasting joy and fulfillment in your endeavors.
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Being stuck is not a happy place to be.
For organizations, this is more a symptom of something bigger, something problematic.
In organization, models, paradigms, ways of doing things get calcified and over time loses its meaning and relevance. While the rest of the world has dramatically changed, there are some practices that have not been examined to be effective or relevant or helpful to modern-day development actors.
Some organizations are “stuck” with one funding model, one implementing model, one education model, one strategy model, and one management model. There is no “other” way than the way it is done. There are no other seemingly alternative viable approaches. The ways of doing are such that people are rewarded to keep the status quo and any movement to change has been met with fierce and ruthless resistance.
Aid and the business of aid are becoming a tired debate issue. When developed countries give aid, they do not do alone for the sake of benevolence. It has tied, whether implicit or explicit, political, economic, social, cultural, and most of the time, ideological, colonialist agenda and considerations.
Moving away from aid model, a lot of newer organizations, networks, start-ups, and campaigns have been built with the power of connection with people in the developing countries with genuine desire to seek the best solution from within these nations and communities, amplify and scale up, and leave these communities able and empowered to chart their own future successes.
Searchers are not concerned about the roadmap, the tried and tested way or the one that is handed down by technocrats and bureaucrats in air-conditioned offices in headquarters in developed countries. Searchers are not concerned about who gets the credit at the end of the day. As long as the problem is solved or being solved with capacity to understand and learn from those whose lives are touched by it and vice versa.
Stuck is where there is a false dichotomy between surviving by cruising along for the longest time or failing because change is too risky enough. The latter has a chance to invigorate and actually create new value for the organization while cruising along is a wasteful and immoral use of organizational power.
Getting unstuck is asking the right questions. When Yahoo employee sent an letter to executives telling them how they are failing, what things are not working well, it paved the way for Yahoo to reset its course, which prevented it from declining amidst growing competitors like Google and Facebook.
Who are the searchers in your organization? Are they leading your organization to re-examine its paradigms? Is your organizational culture allowing searchers to ask the right questions?
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Things have not changed.
People working in the non-profit see the scarcity, the lack, and the need for more, greater, better, and bigger. They tend to compete for the small pie that is handed out to them by the donors, funders, and whoever holds the purse. It is a game where the small gets smaller and the big gets bigger. When you think that with all the goodness in the sector, cooperation is not normal; scarcity mentality drives brazen competition.
What drives the non-profits to compete? What led to divisive, turfing wars prevalent among them?
To keep the staff, to keep the programs going, to keep the funders happy, to keep the status quo? What is the fall out? Who doesn’t get the pie and who folded up sooner than later? These do not get published but whispered around.
Good competition is good. Bad competition is bad. It is always a race to the bottom. It kills everyone on its path.
If you are small, nobody wants you, you don’t get picked. That is the reality. But smallness is a perspective. Scarcity is a perspective. The small to you is not small to the people and communities that subscribe to them and hold them as part of their tribe. It may be cliché sounding but it is true, the worth of an organization is not based on their net worth but their network.
I take the blue ocean perspective - that success comes not from battling competition but by creating untapped new market spaces for growth. The social sector needs blue ocean, not a sea of red. Making the sea red is not the way to live for social good. We need to create our own blue ocean because at the end of the day, we owe it up to the people we seek to serve. If there is thriving not sinking, the sector will be healthy, whole, and more powerful.