Principles of Greatness
February 2nd, 2006I strongly recommend reading the recently published monograph by Jim Collins, Good to Great and the Social Sectors. As Collins writes, the new material was intended to be a chapter in the future edition of his book, Good to Great. He was inspired by the response from the nonprofit sector to his original book. At the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, we recently used some of his Good to Great ideas and principles in shaping our vision and strategies for the future.
The refreshing and insightful ideas that emerge from his monograph are noteworthy for anyone connected to a nonprofit organization regardless of size: from a university to a large nonprofit health system to the storefront soup kitchen to a medium size human service agency to a church or other house of worship. The key area that we are focusing on is identifying those measures of "greatness" from the viewpoint of making an impact. As Collins tells us, the social sector's "greatness" is not the size - from assets, to a budget to staff size, but rather being able to demonstrate the difference it is making in a community.
So just you when think, believe or someone tells you that the nonprofit sector should be run like a business, read Jim Collins' monograph. He contends and I agree that, "business thinking is not the answer". But, nonprofits are not off the hook. In this era of transparency, it is critical that the nonprofit/social sector have the discipline and apply the rigor necessary to address the mission and key goals of the organization.
Jim Collins, Good to Great and the Social Sectors, published by Jim Collins, 2005. Website www.jimcollins.com