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.

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