The Same But So Different


By Chris Gandy

Working with Cause and Effective is like shifting through a box of assorted buttons.

The organisations we deal with have one thing in common – are all cause-based. But there the similarity ends. They have different missions, sets of stakeholders, are different sizes and are located in diverse locations across this continent of ours. And there is one other variable that we encounter which absolutely keeps people like us on our toes – circumstance.

Circumstance can be best described as the existing conditions or state of affairs surrounding and affecting the organisation at the point at which we are engaged to assist. When this seems to be at its most pronounced is during the period of transition between CEO’s and we find organisations roughly falling into the following categories:

Growth Mode – Where the organisation is performing well and growing but strategies need to be reviewed or developed to ensure a sustainable future.

Steady As She Goes – Sometimes organisations are travelling reasonably well and the board views the transition as a routine transactional process. Paradoxically these organisations are often the ones that can benefit most from an organisation such as ours. The reason for this is that we are able to introduce them to a suite of possibilities to consider – usually opportunities the previous incumbent was probably aware of but chose not to raise as they interfered with their comfort zone.

U-turn – The organisation is in various stages of decline or could be in a complete tail-spin. Here focus needs to be aimed at understanding the root cause, addressing  these issues, stabilising the organisation and then eventually placing it on a growth path.

Angst – This is experienced by organisations who are enduring the departure of a long serving and highly successful executive. Rather like a team that loses its star player. Quite apart from going through a grieving process, questions abound about  how it will cope in the future.

Drama – Usually the departure is involuntary. Here our primary focus  is on addressing the causal issues, quickly repairing any collateral damage and rebuilding  stakeholder confidence.

Each of these circumstances demands a different approach when supporting the organisation and presents one or two interesting  and unique challenges but hey, they certainly make our lives interesting!

Can you add more categories to our list of circumstances?

About the author: Chris Gandy MAPS is a Director of Cause and Effective ( a group dedicated to assisting cause-based organisations achieve greater social impact. You can also follow him on Twitter.

About B-Cause

B-Cause is published by Cause and Effective. We help good causes find and attract effective leaders.

Thats our take on things. Over to you, please add to the discussion.

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