On Monday I wrote about the values and challenges of partnerships inspired by the new book Do More Than Give by Leslie Crutchfield, John Kania, and Mark Kramer. Although designed to give donors pointers on how they can increase the impact of their donations, the book has many insights for nonprofits organizations aspiring to be high performing. My last comments were about partnerships, where organizations collaborate on joint products or productions for example, recognizing that each comes to the process with strengths and weaknesses and is accountable for making the partnership succeed.
Upon reflection it seems to me that the bigger and more productive tool for organizations is creating and harnessing networks of individuals and organizations. “I live in a world,” Knight Foundation president Alberto Ibargüen says, “where all my partners are potential competitors and all of my competitors are potential partners.”
Here is the world we live in today. As the authors of Do More Than Give state: “When you want to exert the greatest level of force against a problem, releasing power and distributing it widely can yield better results rather than trying to consolidate authority and centrally control decisions. It’s a counterintuitive concept. It requires leaders to cross formerly forbidden boundaries and adopt a nuanced understanding of their firm’s relationship with others. It also calls for redefining success and recasting the timeline against which progress is measured.” It’s about letting go and letting the power of the network take over.
How has networking helped your organization? Let me know in the comments section.
The preceding is a guest post by Bob Ottenhoff, Chief Executive of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. With an entrepreneurial spirit, strong technology focus, and a quest to make an impact in the world, Bob has the ability to take an organization and lead it into strong performance, sustainability, and industry leadership.