Welcome to our April Business Briefing.

“First the briefing…then the blog, the tweet and the talk…now, the Book?”

I would welcome your view on something brewing here at idenk... should we write a book?

One of our most popular business briefings outlined the challenge of Noble Purpose Organisations, in either leading, being part of, or helping them.

NPOs are places where many staff and volunteers state the main reason they chose to work there is for the alignment they feel with the overall mission of the enterprise. 

Much of our work is with leaders and teams in a full range of NPOs:

...from development charities to health care teams

...from education providers to conservation NGOs

...from corporate CSR groups to global medical networks.

The ‘pure’ commercial sector work we do in sectors like finance, telecoms and travel illuminates the contrast between what we believe are fundamentally just two sectors: Noble Purpose and Commercial Purpose (with the inevitable Venn like overlaps in a few places of course).

The common feature in many NPOs is what we 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 be riven with petty politics and driven by individuals sometimes ruthlessly pursing their own agendas?”

This can be a source of huge dissatisfaction to so many who strive to make things better (the D of the DVF formula). 

But our message is not bleak.  Fortunately, there are many easy, even exciting, things leaders and staff can to do to address this paradox. We think it is possible to encourage, educate and empower those that work in NPOs with ideas to make things better. We regularly deliver talks and training on the subject: sharing stories, insights and easy to use tools.  These are tried, tested and trusted approaches in our work providing individual assessments, team development and larger events too.

Which leads us to the book idea… We’re thinking of writing one on the Noble Purpose Paradox and what can be done about it – we think we have something important to say.  It would be finished later this year, blending the narrative style in this ‘values into practice’ piece, with the way this Little Book and this Personal Productivity webinar bring together helpful frameworks and illustrations in one place.  It will be enlightening, inspiring, entertaining and practical.

So, we would welcome your thoughts (and maybe commitment):

  • The idea: does this book sound like a good idea? Or does it make your heart sink: “oh, no not another thing I will be hassled to read”. Maybe you regret reading this far already!
  • The give and the get: Do you work in a place where most people would say the purpose of the organisation is of key importance in their working, and indeed whole, lives?  If so, would you like to be part of the process?  We are looking for volunteers to be a sort of mix between a reference group and a crowd source community.  All you need to be able to do is commit to read a short section that we will send each week.  All we are looking for is your reaction: was it worth taking the time to read it, was it clear, any pointers?  You will be fully credited (if you want) and will get an invite to the party when it's finished ☺.

We look forward to your answers – either by reply to this email or you can text Phil on +44 7867 538184. 

And now for something completely different

Well, related actually.  Have you seen these recent blogs:

  1. How the 7Ps for organising great meetings are now 13
  2. A simple checklist for giving learning sets a go
  3. And a couple of health tips – really

Best wishes for a brilliant Spring (or Autumn etc) – depending where in the world you are reading this…

Best wishes

Phil (with Ross)
April 2013

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