SOURCE: Booz & Company

Booz & Company

August 23, 2010 12:36 ET

Social Sector's Leadership Challenge: Maintaining Mission-Driven Pride and Innovation as Organizations Grow and Mature

Unlike the Business World, in the Social Sector, People Are Motivated More by Mission Than Career Advancement, Competition and Money; Leaders Must Ensure That Processes Introduced to Help Social Organizations Scale Don't Squelch Pride and Values, Say Authors of Leading Outside the Lines

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - August 23, 2010) -  Maintaining organizational effectiveness in the social and not-for-profit sector involves twists and hurdles that are less prevalent in the business world, according to Jon Katzenbach, senior partner at Booz & Company, and Zia Khan, vice president of strategy and evaluation at the Rockefeller Foundation, co-authors of Leading Outside the Lines; How to Mobilize the (In)Formal Organization, Energize Your Team, and Get Better Results (Jossey-Bass, 2010).

A start-up company relies on emotional connections to the mission as key drivers for growth. As the enterprise grows, formal processes and structures become necessary. When they're introduced in a way that complements the informal, emotional dimension of the organization, the enterprise can soar to the next stage of growth and impact. But, when introduced poorly, the formal mechanisms fail, and the informal part of the organization gets squelched.

This risk is far more significant in the social sector. Emotional connection to and pride in the mission and work are often bigger performance drivers than in the for-profit sector, so informal elements need more careful nurturing and protection as the organization grows. Accordingly, careful introduction of formal structures is all the more important. Yet non-profit managers are often less experienced with the formal organization -- so a mishandled application is more likely.

The most successful nonprofits, however, have managed to blend both informal and formal elements to drive greater social impact.

"Leaders in the social sector are faced with a conundrum as their organizations scale. They know they need more process to make the organization run more efficiently -- but they worry it will squelch the emotional drivers of performance. This is a particularly difficult challenge in situations where people are motivated much more by the current mission of the organization and the pride they feel in their work than by carrots like money, promotions and profit," said Khan.

Khan is available to discuss leadership challenges in the social sector and approaches to nurturing both the informal and formal dimensions of a nonprofit -- to the benefit of the mission, employee motivation and operational efficiency.

During a discussion he can address...

  • The problems many social sector organizations face as they grow. Nonprofits and NGOs frequently start with an innovation and scale up through funding from government agencies, foundations and other sources based on the leader's vision. As they grow, the organizations face two problems: (a) The informal means that leaders relied on to manage a start-up are no longer sufficient for a growing organizations, which needs a more formal structure, and (b) the initial innovation needs modification as circumstances evolve.
  • The framework for navigating the situation. Leaders must find a way to understand the emotional motivators that drove the organization initially and are still there (though perhaps not as visibly as they were) and then create a plan to introduce new formal mechanisms that complement, as opposed to overwhelm, those informal mechanisms.
  • The stories of nonprofits and social services that have successfully struck the formal/informal balance. Leading Outside the Lines discusses the leadership and organizational challenges and triumphs of the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, P.S. 130 in New York City and many other individuals and organizations, including the Houston Police Department.

To obtain a copy of Leading Outside the Lines (and supporting material) and/or arrange a conversation with Zia Khan or Jon Katzenbach, please contact Frank Lentini of Sommerfield Communications at (212) 255-8386 or lentini@sommerfield.com.

About Booz & Company

Booz & Company is a leading global management consulting firm, helping the world's top businesses, governments, and organizations.

Our founder, Edwin Booz, defined the profession when he established the first management consulting firm in 1914.

Today, with more than 3,300 people in 61 offices around the world, we bring foresight and knowledge, deep functional expertise, and a practical approach to building capabilities and delivering real impact. We work closely with our clients to create and deliver essential advantage.

For our management magazine strategy+business, visit www.strategy-business.com.

For information on the Katzenbach Center visit www.booz.com/katzenbach_center.

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About the Authors

Jon Katzenbach is a senior partner at Booz & Company and leads The Katzenbach Center, where promising new approaches in leadership, culture and organization performance are developed for client application. His consulting career has been largely focused in these areas, and spans several decades across several different professional books, including Wisdom of Teams, Peak Performance, Why Pride Matters More Than Money and the new Leading Outside the Lines. He received his MBA from Harvard, where he was a Baker Scholar. Jon is a founding partner of Katzenbach Partners.

Zia Khan, co-author of Leading Outside the Lines, is vice president for strategy and evaluation at the Rockefeller Foundation, which supports innovations that help people share globalization's benefits more equitably and strengthens their resilience to social, economic, health and environmental challenges. Zia also advises leaders on the integration of strategy and organization as a senior fellow of the Katzenbach Center, which he co-founded with Jon Katzenbach, and as an individual consultant. Prior to joining the Rockefeller Foundation, Zia established and led Katzenbach Partners' San Francisco office and West Coast Practice and pioneered the firm's work on the informal organization. Zia hold a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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