Fall 2016 into 2017 with TechSoup Global

Literally all over the world, civil society — and the non-profit / non-governmental organizations that serve it — works intensively, 24x7x365. The broad mission is easy to state: Do Good, Better.  

The sweep of the work is staggering: to provide the means, skills and commitment that people need to cultivate their own security, freedom, quality of life, and creativity, all too often against daunting odds.

Of course there is the omnipresence of resource-provider institutions ranging from private sector competition to public sector services. But in a staggering number of situations there are factors including geography, age, value systems,  and others that mean people don’t get enough of what they need when having it would matter the most.

In July, notably right before both politics and Wall Street simultaneously achieved complete escape velocity, I was able to begin working with TechSoup Global – a unique organization making it possible for modern information technology to be accessible to NPOs and NGOs virtually everywhere.  TechSoup Global creates working partnerships that provide for technology companies to confidently identify NGOs and NPOs, and support them — with donated or discounted technology and the means for them to understand it, deploy it and even create it.

For those organizations at either side of the relationship, the key characteristics of the current millennium obviously (and globally) include:

  • a dazzling rate of change,
  • a pronounced challenge in converting cross-cultural complexity into agility,
  • and the paradox of intentionally increasing mobility while trying to make location-specific problems into beneficial opportunity for resident citizens.

TechSoup Global is fiercely dedicated to making these issues manageable and to make that manageability an outcome of self-empowered constituencies.

Beginning late December, I am extremely proud to commit to TechSoup full time as a member of its staff’s strategy, design and change teams for TechSoup’s own technology, used to develop the relationships and provisioning that empowers validated NPOs and NGOs in well over 120 countries around the world. In this new role, I will be pursuing some of what I think and hope will be among the most important work I have ever done, at an enormously critical point in time for both US and non-US societies.

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The People Side Of Change

Who Should Be Responsible For  Managing The People Side Of Change?

I’m breaking the question down into its answerable parts.

First, “Responsible” should be, as famously seen in RACI charts, distinguished from “accountable”. Responsible parties are the actual causal actors of an event, presumably by assignment (if looking forward), and regardless of the outcomes.

Manage” should be an articulated idea as well. The purpose of management is to:

  • support progress explicitly
  • by keeping resource expenditure intentionally aligned, effectively,
  • to the current path of opportunity for a targeted effect,
  • continually throughout the effort.

We might think that appointing a responsible manager is  at least something that we can do as a decision based on assessment of skills.

But with the manager in place, the obvious question becomes, what is it about people that now gets applied management, and therefore, what manager ought to be applying it?

People side” should be called out as meaning:

  • the understanding, willingness and exercise that are contained in…
  • people’s inclusion, role and impact actually (not theoretically) obtained in the effort to change.

Change” itself should be called out as meaning transition; that supplies the perspective for calling out the two overriding issues of change:

  • risks to completion, and
  • risks to adoption.

The existing size and existing complexity of an organization typically dictates a lot of the factors that go into deciding the “5 Ws” about managing: the Who, What, Where, When and Why. From considering the meanings above, each of these five factors is clearly a variable in the overall equation for change.

That’s why the answer to the original question cannot just be declared. It actually has to be discovered by thinking through what the question means in the given organization.