NPO? Here we go…On the way, to the Triple A?

Improvement, Noble Purpose No Comments

Today I start a series of blogs on Noble Purpose Organisations.

The world of worthy work can be perplexing. They can be hard teams to lead, not easy places to work in. And yet…they can provide a way to achieve some of the most beneficial gains for humanity and the planet.

In my pamphlet from earlier this year I define the range of organisations (from small charities to the fairtrade arms of major multi-nationals) and describe how:

“the common feature in many Noble Purpose Organisations (NPOs) is what I call the ‘Noble Purpose Paradox’. In a nutshell, it is a pattern that not only bewilders and frustrates long serving managers but also comes as a shock to new recruits. Why is it that the more compelling the mission, the more tricky it can be to get the best collaborative behaviours and the necessary focused action? And how can some places that are trying to achieve the most crucial and needed changes to the world we live in can be so riven with petty politics and driven by individuals sometimes ruthlessly pursing their own agendas?”

Do you recognise that? In this case, this series is for you. If this doesn’t echo your experience, please do challenge me!

I don’t want to come over too negative or bleak: my aim for this series is to be an encouragement. I will raise some challenging issues – but mainly as questions for further research and reflection. Overall, I want to provide ideas for action. Ideas to inspire…

So, getting going – his is my version of the Triple A rating.

A quick test…do you think your team or organisation
1) Has clearly Aligned staff?
2) With an embodiment of the Attitudes that you are promoting more widely (eg care, learning)?
3) And an Awareness and acceptance that not everyone has to see things the same way?

I am going to guess that 1 and 2 are hard.

However, for me the key place to start is at 3: exploring how people see things differently. Asking what others see – not advocating a point of view. My recent business briefing provides some pointers.

Once that sort of curiosity is in place it is possible to pursue a balance that is at the heart of positive working experiences and outcomes in NPO. I believe truly excellent results come when staff have the autonomy to follow their passion and use their initiative – whilst working within the systems of accountability to guide that energy. That balance brings us back to the leadership work needed to ensure aligned action (1) and appropriate attitudes (2).

[To be continued!]

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