When you haven’t got an office space and everything you own is buried under layers of bubble wrap and dozens of sealed boxes, even the normal parts of life become exercises is self-motivation and finally exhaustion. Even though it is going to take a while to finish unpacking, the final result is going to be great and the positive elements since we arrived have been a revelation. We have moved a bit further north and ‘escaped to the country’ and suddenly people smile in the street, wave you through the gap in the traffic and the neighbours bring cake with their welcomes. What a revelation.
So, what has all this got to do with the governance of third sector organisations? For me, it is the fact of having had to get everything back in order as fast as possible, filling out endless forms, spending hours on the phone to do the simplest thing, do and repeat until it is resolved, that provides the connection.
Do you have any idea how your organisation would react to a really dramatic change in its circumstances? Do you have a disaster recovery plan? Have the discussions that led to the creation of your annual strategy used the simple method of asking the ‘what if’ questions to inform that strategy? A huge range of traumatic scenarios could have a disastrous effect on services to members so knowing how you might cope is really essential.
What if we had a catastrophic IT failure?
What if we discovered a serious data breach?
What if we discovered an unforeseen hole in our finances?
What if too many staff resigned simultaneously?
What if there was an office fire over the weekend?
What if the behaviour of a board or staff member caused serious reputational damage?
Is your organisation’s governance robust enough and is your board sufficiently well informed and confident enough to ride out the storm?
If the answer to that question is either ‘no’ or ‘I’m not sure’ then having the discussions which lead to a ‘yes’ must be a matter of urgency. You may know that some element of the way the organisation functions should be enhanced. Imagine if that thing that has been annoying you for ages was no longer a problem. If you are trying to make decisions about where to go for assistance or you would like to talk about something you are currently facing, then I’d love to help.
Incidentally, as I’m now located in Bedfordshire, if you are a new neighbour of mine (or know an organisation which is) then I’d be delighted to buy you a cup of coffee. Do let me know which your favourite coffee emporiums in the county are!
Remember, what if ……