Expectation vs cynicism management in NPO

Improvement, Noble Purpose No Comments

In my discussions and presentations about Noble Purpose Organisations, I am keen to be a positive help. I am happy to engage with cynicism but don’t want to fan its flames.

Why engage with cynicism? As I have outlined here I do see cynicism as a buffer between stress and burnout in NPO. Scratch a cynic and you regularly find someone who’s heart has been broken or their high hopes dashed.

However, cynicism isn’t something that helps us live fulfilling lives or do great work.

This balance between helping and making things worse is a hard one.

Take this example, from a few years ago:

I see the group of new recruits through the window of the seminar room.
I join them for a morning.
They are new to the NHS from commerce.
Already managers there. Wanting to be leaders here.
Buoyed up with excitement at the chance to make a difference.
Now weeks later, their hearts are heavy. They are pretty sad and down.
At the politics (small p), rudeness, disinterest, unkindness…
I explain my ideas on NPO. They are not alone.
That seemed to help.
But now to find the next step.
I hope I left them inspired to act.

How did I do?
Maybe the score was
Positive helping 1 : Fanning the flames of cynicism 1


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