"Meet the Disruptors" - Michelle's interview with YU Energy

24th June, 2016

This article was originally written by Michelle Wright for Yu Energy.

 

It’s my belief that the best innovation works when it fits into a company’s lifecycle. It’s about developing a deep and long-lasting culture and scaling back other operations so teams can embed new processes one by one. It’s really important not to try and change everything all at once because all companies need to go through phases of consolidation as well as of growth.

CEOs of charities need to make some really savvy decisions nowadays, working in a complex climate where funding is harder to come by. When that’s coupled with a need to find new ways of working, it can be pretty scary for charities to change, and change well, when they feel the added pressure of meeting their stakeholders’ expectations.

Added to that is the fact that there’s often resistance to change within charitable organisations, especially those looking to achieve a step change in income or funding but not actually wanting to change how they operate. But like Henry Ford said, if you ‘always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got’. That’s why it’s so important for them to be bold in making the step changes they need to, to ensure success when working on team culture.

A culture will emerge whether business owners like it or not, so unless they think hard about it, they might not like what emerges. We’ve always taken the view that culture can’t come from one person, it’s got to be a collective process and something that gets constant attention to combine the right mix of flexible working and organisational structures with an element of ‘learning as you go’. Culture has to be at the heart of any organisation’s business planning, but it’s by no means easy to master.

What do we do here to nurture the Cause4 culture? We look at our values as we recruit to get great people doing interesting work of quality that can make a difference to a range of charitable initiatives. In the early days we grew fast and relatively unexpectedly, so much so that we then had all the pressures of a firm which had probably grown too fast too quickly.

We had to change ourselves and be as open to changing ourselves as anyone else. We now make sure our staff always have a say in business development and how we progress and improve. We’ve also put in place a constant feedback loop with stakeholders to make sure we can be responsive and spot when our work or processes need to change or improve.

Because our business was born from a single disruptive idea, it’s been easy for us to make innovation a central part of our team culture from the start – but organisational culture can be changed at anytime, no matter what the circumstances. Just take it one step at a time, but do make that first step – don’t try to ‘build Rome in a day’, but don’t put it off until tomorrow.

Read the original article here.

“We are pleased to support the development of these materials, through Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy, to provide a comprehensive bank of knowledge and experience that can be easily accessed by leaders of arts organisations and practitioners, both in the UK and internationally. One of our priorities at the Arts Council is to help arts and cultural organisations become more resilient and sustainable as they explore new revenue streams.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of ACE