Tough Times? Turn Inward: A Report

February 17th, 2010   •   Comments Off on Tough Times? Turn Inward: A Report   
“Hunkering Down:” Our Natural Response?

Richard Harwood of the Harwood Insitute reveals the results of his latest study, sponsored by the Kettering Foundation: The Organization First Approach: How Programs Crowd Out Community.  (Go to Harwood’s Report: The Organization First)

“Just when leaders and organizations need to turn outward toward their communities, they turn inward toward their organizations.”


Is this something we naturally do…as a sort of self-protection?  Like some suit of armor that, while providing some protection, ironically leads us away from opportunities?  I believe it is.  So, just as it is the human to be compassionate in the presence of anger or evil, this is another skill we must acquire: looking outside when we’re scared.  For opportunities and partnerships with others who…are scared, too.

My own informal analysis leads me to conclude that this trend proves true for both non- and for-profit organizations.  intuitively, it’s understandable: “things are bad…I’ll just focus on what’s going on inside the company…looking outside could be…risky…”

Harwood’s study reveals the flaws in thinking: the leaders gave explanations of the various internal barriers to an expanded role in their organization’s efforts in community engagment: “A lack of funding was typically the first obstacle they mentioned; the lack of appropriate skills was second; for others, internal interest presented yet another barrier.”

This response reminds me of Peter Drucker’s admonition back in the early 90’s: in his gravelly, German-crusted accent, he offered: “…nothing is more ineffective than to make efficient what should not be done in the first place…” 

Are these — are most of them — organizations engaging in a vicious cycle of fear-based introspection that is encouraged by the terror that is the “outside world?” 

Powered by ScribeFire.

We hope you find the information on this web site useful and notice an improvement in your writing very soon