As a small business with a super-committed team, we are lucky. We have worked out ways to survive while the economy is on hold and ‘business as usual’ is far from usual. We will be here.
Which is just as well, since organisational sustainability is our bread and butter. The past few weeks have been tough for everyone. We’ve given ourselves time to respond and have done a lot of soul searching. Are our resources still relevant to the struggles and contingencies charities are now facing? And how can we best be of service to you?
Are our resources still relevant?
The resource we are best known for is The Lasting Difference. Its principles and practices have stood the test of time and remain relevant today. Organisations that will survive (and make a lasting impact) during the current crisis are:
Retaining a laser-like focus on their core purpose and services.
Evolving and adapting purposefully, knowing that sustainability is about responding to change.
Involving communities and partners, sharing ownership and responsibility.
Taking a holistic approach to income generation, knowing their costs and proving their worth.
We’ve also just published Lasting Leadership, the guide to sustainable non-profit leadership. Again, following its principles and practices will make sound sense for any leader dealing with the fall-out of coronavirus in their organisation:
Creating time and space for development, planning, sharing knowledge and learning.
Focusing on connecting people with vision and purpose.
Prioritising self-care. We’ve always said that self-care is an essential part of the job – not a perk or a luxury, and it’s just as true today.
Letting go of the expectation to have all the answers, managers know when and how to relinquish control, relying on their teams to step in and step up when needed.
We also decided in the circumstances to release a full, free guide to succession planning. This might sound bleak but it’s not meant to be! It’s just that as we looked at our resources in the light of coronavirus, we realised that this guide contained a lot of useful ideas for contingency planning. Find out for yourself here.
In addition, both our websites have Resource pages full of free, inspiring easy-to-use guides, templates and examples. Help yourself here:
Our services – and how we can be of service
We are continuing to operate during the crisis. We can move to part time or flexible hours with ease and we all work from home already. [Our tips from doing this for several years are:
- Get dressed for work!
- Manage your energy not your time (it often doesn’t matter what time of day the work gets done as long as it gets done on time; accept there are days or times when you are not being productive, walk away and come back when you are.)
- Take regular breaks – step away from the laptop and do something that your enjoy for 10/15 minutes.
- Have your lunch in a different space.
- Create a separate space for working and ‘close the door’ at the end of the day, physically or symbolically.]
Cashflow is obviously an issue when we run so many workshops and events (about 100 each year). But we have done our forecasts and will manage things to ensure we remain solvent for the year ahead. I am hugely grateful to our paid staff and company directors Jen and Jenny for their help in this, and to our associates Debbie and Caspia for their understanding.
Our clients have also been amazing, thank you all.
I’ve said many times over the years that we are a social enterprise in all but name, but the flexibility that being a company gives us is very useful. Frankly, the fact that my salary can be adjusted each year has allowed us to invest in and subsidise a lot of what we do (keeping the Lasting Difference free, employing a Development Manager, making our leadership retreats non-profit etc.). Here’s a quick summary of where we are with our main services:
- Programmes – we have been in touch with all our clients about postponing events and developing alternative forms of participation.
- E-learning – it’s been tricky to promote this one as we don’t want it to look like cashing in, but we’re so glad we’ve developed an e-learning package and the next programme starts on 4th May.
- The Lasting Leadership action learning programme will continue, though the face to face events in May and June are postponed.
- Advance Retreats – our special away days for getting things done are postponed for face to face participation, but we will offer virtual coworking on the same days already arranged.
- Resources and publications – we’re on schedule for publications like the Market Shaping guide we’ve produced with Shared Care Scotland and Healthcare Improvement Scotland. We’re looking at fast-tracking some new resources and will be re-releasing some of the most interesting stuff from our archives, starting with this playlist of recommended talks. And watch this space – the updated fifth edition of the Lasting Difference is already with the designers and will be out very soon!
Thank you for reading. Thank you for all your support over the years and into the future. We want you to know we are here and we are here for you. Please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you sustain yourself or your organisation through these difficult times.