Are you addressing symptoms or root causes of your agency’s distress?

org cultureWelcome to O.D. Fridays at DonorDreams blog. Every Friday for the foreseeable future we will be looking at posts from John Greco’s blog called “johnponders ~ about life at work, mostly” and applying his organizational development messages to the non-profit community.

In a post titled “Baffling,” John talks about a situation where a CEO was not up for the cultural change in his company. Instead of addressing the real issues, the CEO tried to deal with symptoms rather than the root cause of his employee morale challenges.

Reading John’s post this morning, I am reminded of how many non-profit organizations do the same thing.

  • We offer employees more in benefits (e.g. extra vacation days) rather than addressing the obvious wage disparity that exists between many non-profits and for-profits.
  • We offer donors more facts and figures about program outputs rather than demonstrating true outcomes and sharing stories about how our programs have been transformational to those we serve.
  • We engage in strategic planning and focus on strategies/tactics/action rather than looking deep within our organizations and tackling cultural issues first.

Is your agency engaged in this type of activity right now? If so, here are a few previous posts you may find useful:

A few quick tips to consider:

  1. Who you have on your bus is important (It always comes back to Jim Collins for me). A strategic plan won’t help you if you have the wrong people on the bus and sitting around your boardroom and staff meeting tables.
  2. The biggest difference between for-profit and non-profit organizations can be summed up in one word — “MISSION“. Doubling down on mission-focus activities and messaging might help you when organizational culture becomes an issue.
  3. Leadership means making tough decisions. It does not mean compromising to make everyone happy.

Are you currently facing an issue dealing with organizational culture? How are you addressing it? Did you read John’s post? What do you think the CEO in that story should’ve done differently? Please use the comment box below to share your thoughts and experiences.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

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