Tuesday, May 8, 2012

my latest social accounts – more impact, but not all positive...?

So, it’s that time of year again when I publish my summary ‘social accounts’. There are various reasons why I choose to be so transparent and open in my performance in respect of the values that I try and conduct my business and work by, and I’ve listed them before. (If you’re curious as to what they are – you can read about them in previous posts here).

And year on year, they show that I’ve gotten better at managing my environmental impact and also in strengthening the resilience of my local economy. But what they also suggest is that my ‘performance’ as a trainer seems to have struggled in comparison to previous years (although it’s still a high satisfaction rating) – this prompted me to dig a little deeper into this apparent variance and has meant that for the first time, I’ve included a brief commentary to the findings that offers some additional insight into what lies behind the figures.

This expansion to the presentation of these ‘accounts’ I prepare has prompted me to revisit the overall structure of how I monitor and report on my impacts. As a small business/sole trader offering a range of consultancy and support services both to and through a wide variety of groups (see my portfolio), I needed to create a template that was easy to use, didn’t require a lot of resource (‘cos I don’t have a lot to spare!), and would allow me to reflect on my values in a tangible and meaningful way. The expansion of this to begin to include narrative commentary to some of the findings means that I’m wondering afresh if there are also ways in which I might begin to consider how the methodologies of established social impact standards such as SROI and SAA (which are not designed with sole traders in mind!) might be able to be applied to a small business/sole trader who trades across a wide range of customer groups and impacts on not only local groups, but also national policy and legislation.

I’d welcome any comments people might care to offer... meanwhile, you can see the latest set of my social accounts on the last page of my ‘blag sheet’ here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I'm more accomplished than I realised!

Very often, we don't fully appreciate the impact we have on those around us until much later (if at all), when comments are made in passing - which is another good reason for adopting social impact reporting, but that's not the focus of this musing...

I was struck by a piece of post I received yesterday: my shiny new RSA Fellowship card arrived, but I didn't initially recognise myself as the person it was addressed to. You see, I usually refer to myself as 'Adrian', and while I hold some qualifications and awards, I don't usually list these in any context (unless I'm bigging myself up when pitching for contracts!).
The letter I received was addressed to "Mr A Ashton MA MBA ASIP FRSA FCISI" - well, they got the FRSA letters right, but sadly I don't have an MBA, and am not entirely sure what some of the other letters even mean!

Could it be that they have foresight about what I'm about to embark upon; that its a reflection of their appreciation and perception of my skills, abilities and apititudes (after all, they originially approached with with an invitation to join their Fellowship); or perhaps just a clerical filing error...
In a world when we don't always get thanked for the efforts we make on behalf of others, I know which of the explanations I'd like to believe...