Monday, April 19, 2010

too successful?

a charity made front page news by closing after receiving £100,000 from the Home Office because it's been "too successful" in reducing crime and so its services are no longer needed.

Well done to them - rather than try and continue a service that no one wants/needs, or to re-invent themselves with new services (which would undoubtedly have moved in into areas different to those that originally attracted its staff, volunteers, trustees and other supporters to it), they've decided to shut up shop, celebrate and allow all involved to move on to new adventures with a renewed sense of excitement and optimism.

Too often I see groups and agencies who are 'fighting on' long past their use-by date: as a result their people are unhappy and de-motivated, other groups view them with suspicion and they suck up resources that could be better deployed elsewhere.

I've always advocated to groups that once you achieve the reason you were created for, you should stop and go home - don't assume that everyone will want to continue with you if the organisation starts working in new areas, and if you're really serious about wanting to create 'social good' and benefit the community above all else then prove it by walking away when you've done your job.

This translates to me personally in that one of the ways I check that I've been successful in supporting the groups I work with is that they no longer need me (because I've trained/empowered/strengthened them so well) - in effect I've done myself out of a job, but the vision has to come first.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Adrian Ashton's social sccounts released...

I've always been a keen proponent of the idea of social accounting - after all, if we say that our values and ethics are important and make a difference, then we should be able to show to what extent, and in what ways, they do.

And there are a ton of toolkits and models out there to support you do this - some based on your form (ie - CESPIs for co-ops) and some on your main focus of activity (eg environmental impact).

However, as a sole trader, there's nothing really obvious that I've found that I can easily pick off the shelf and use on 4 years ago I began to create my own framework based on measuring the things most important to me in terms of what I try and achieve and contribute through how I work.

It's an evolving framework, and I usually add an additional measure each year, but surely its a start.

This year they show an increase in the extent to which I've contributed to stimulating debate and discussion around sector issues, that over a quarter of all my business purchases have been made from local companies, that the majority of all my business travel was made without the use of a gas-guzzling and polluting car, and that training I develop and deliver seems to be well received.

You can download a pdf version (as i include it in my 'blag sheet'/CV) from my website here (its referred to as the 'information sheet about me'); and below is a copy of their summary:

So what do people think? Is this a useful emergent framework for social accounting on sole traders, and what other measures should I incorprate for next years?