Focusing on What Matters

Jan MasaokaDo organizations spend too much time focusing on internal management issues?  According to Jan Masaoka, Editor-in-Chief of the online magazine Blue Avocado, the answer is “yes.”
In my latest podcast for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Jan shares her observation that organizations focus way too much on management, and not enough on the needs and aspirations of the communities they work with.
If you think that is heresy coming from the former Executive Director of a nonprofit resource center whose job is to teach organizations precisely those management skills, you will want to catch this interview!
You can listen to the interview streaming online, or download it to your MP3 player and listen on the way to work (or as you’re working out).
Once you’ve listened, please join the discussion that is in progress at LinkedIn – looking more deeply at the issue of where exactly organizations are being encouraged to focus. (If you have not already joined the Making Change group at LinkedIn, you can join the group AND the conversation at this link.)  The discussion is appropriately labeled Focusing on What Matters.
So what do you think? Is the focus on management in this sector appropriate or disproportionate? Too much, too little, just right?
I can’t wait to hear what you think after listening to this terrific interview.

One Response to Focusing on What Matters

  1. Thanks for sharing your interview with Jan. It was so nice to put her voice to her picture, and to her great work with Blue Avocado. I enjoy reading it whenever it lands in my email box – particularly the delightful 2 minute vacations. They’ve rescued me from a crappy day more than once!

    As consultants, we often meet community benefit organizations where ensuring tight management systems has overshadowed – and in many cases, obscured – the board’s responsibility for ensuring meaningful relationships between the organization and the community in which it exists. I believe it fits in the category called “not seeing the forest for the trees”.

    For me, it is the key reason why I have such zeal for the analysis that Jan and yourself and others such as Rich Harwood are encouraging. It makes me redouble my efforts to help boards recognize the value of connecting the organization’s vision/mission to the conditions in the community that they wish to address. And it makes me feel inspired by those who are willing to take the risk that by connecting to their community, they will actually becomes stronger organizations in the long run.

    Again, thanks for recording such a helpful and inspiring dialogue.