Tag - Rich Harwood

How Fortressy Are We?
Relevance = Accountability

How Fortressy Are We?

I came across this wonderful quiz from Rich Harwood he developed for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (a notorious fortress!) The model highlights the difference between inward facing organizations and outward facing ones:

Certainly rings familiar to us folks who have been researching, writing, and talking for a few years on ways to help organizations transition from traditional command and control models to networks. It reminded of the Working Wikily model the Monitor Institute developed a few years ago of how networks work.

I’ve been thinking there might be a pre-step to Rich’s model. I was asked a few month’s ago whether I could develop a list of questions a group could ask itself to see how “fortressy” they were. So, here’s a start, I need to think more about how to score the answers to these questions, so open to help from you all on that.

How Fortressy Are We?

  • How comfortable is senior management with staff speaking as themselves on social media channels?

Not a chance! They’ll let one or two people speak for us. They’re starting to let more people communicate. We’re all on the channels.

  • How often do you hear the phrase, “That isn’t professional behavior” in your organization?

Every hour! Every day. Most days. Almost never. Absolutely never, but we don’t wear shoes, either.

  • Your communications about your organization focus on how unique and successful you are.

Of course, we have to raise money. Usually, our board expects it. Sometimes. Not often. Never.

  • How concerned are you in revealing your decision-making to the world?

Very concerned, somewhat, a little, not much, not at all.

  • What do we do when someone criticizes us?

Freak out! Call in the crisis management people. Spend a day worrying about it. Let the intern respond. Has someone criticized us?

  • Are your measures of success based largely on the number of people who participate in our efforts?

Of course! Largely. Evenly split with other measures. We never count heads or beds. Who measures success (don’t tell anyone)?

Let me know what you think of the questions/measures and what you would add or delete.




Relevance = Accountability

I had the great honor to keynote the LEAD Summit sponsored by HandsOn Network last week in DC. My talk focused on the need for stand-alone nonprofits to work as networks, not just with them, to take down their walls, lost control of their message and messengers, and build relationships with the people and organizations in their network. In other words, I gave an overview of The Networked Nonprofit!

After I spoke, Rich Harwood moderated a panel discussion with me and Executive Producer for This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Ian Cameron.

During our discussion, Rich said that my talk reminded him of a phrase, “Relevant = Accountability.” He expanded on the idea here on his blog.

Rich defines relevance this way. “[Relevance] goes to the heart of whether people in communities and in our larger society view what we’re doing as important, meaningful and useful.”

Relevance is revealed through accountability, Rich writes. Accountability comes from understanding the communities within which we work, achieving results, we are authentic in our work (Rich gives a shout out to Maya Enista of Mobilze.org here and I will as well!), and finally focused on people not just processes, tools, fundraising, etc.

I had never considered tying relevance to accountability before, it’s a really fascinating idea. Rich is grounding organizations in their communities and work as proof of their relevance, which is great. This notion also highlights the importance of social media because it is the gravitational force pulling what Beth and I call Fortress organizations out from behind their high walls and wide moats as well as forcing the outsider inside. The next few years will be dangerous, I think, for organizations that refuse to recognize, much less appreciate, the connection that Rich is making between how authentic and effective they are and how relevant they are in their ecosystem. Fortresses beware!


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