I ran across a fascinating report from Compass Point, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which explored the way next generation thinking is impacting the ways in which organizations structure themselves and operate. You can read the report for yourself here:
The report highlights 9 key characteristics of organizations which have operationalized next generation traits:
- Impact Driven – The organization has specific metrics that it uses to regularly assess its impact. Failure is accepted as part of the journey towards success, and anything the organization does is open to change.
- Finance and Business Savvy – The organization’s business model is understood by both the board and staff, and meaningful financial information is regularly discussed. The organization pursues annual surpluses without apology, and invests in its people with competitive salaries and benefits.
- Continuous Learning – The organization creates opportunities for knowledge-sharing, and continually seeks to refine its models and frameworks.
- Shared Leadership – Leadership is valued across positions, and all employees feel a shared accountability for the success of the organization.
- Wired for Policy Advocacy – Policy and advocacy are recognized as essential components of the organization’s work, and the organization looks to collaborate with other agencies in advancing these efforts.
- Multicultural and Culturally Competent – The organization seeks to embody cultural diversity within its own people and practices, as well as in the way it interacts with and serves its clients.
- Ambiguity of Work-Life Boundaries – The organization seeks to support its people in both their work and life goals, while also benefiting from the resources accessible in each realm.
- Constituents as Thought Partners – The organization recognizes that its clients have the greatest insight into the services they need, and so tap into this population in order to ensure greater impact.
- Boards as Value Add – Beyond mere oversight, the organization’s board members are expected to use their strengths in creative ways that have a tangible impact on the organization’s work.
The report suggests that each of these characteristics helps to make the organization more relevant and effective in advancing social change. I have certainly seen some elements of this list in my own organization, and believe that we have reaped the benefits from these practices. How about you?