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By The Numbers

Workplace Survey, Findings

1.Workers are struggling to work effectively. 

When focus is compromised in pursuit of Collaboration, neither works well.

2. Effective workplaces balance focus and collaboration. 

Workplaces designed to enable collaboration without sacrificing employees’ ability to focus are more successful.

3. Choice drives performance and innovation. 

Employers who provide a spectrum of choices for when and where to work are seen as more innovative and have higher-performing employees.

 

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FIVE ESSENTIAL ROLES TO BUILD A LEADERSHIP TEAM

 

When social entrepreneurs understand their strengths and priorities, and develop a leadership team composed of people with disparate and complementary skills, it creates “the perfect combination.”

According to Chantal Laurie Below and Kimberly Dasher Tripp, from Stanford University, there are five essential leadership roles in an organization that is ready to scale up. These roles may or may not be filled by five separate people; in some cases multiple roles can be filled by one person. The five roles are the evangelist, scaling partner, connector, program strategist, and realist. 

 

1.Evangelist. The most important member of the leadership team is the evangelist—the person who is deeply passionate about the organization’s mission and convinces others to help fulfill it. When the founder is still at the organization, he is the person who fills the role of the evangelist. If the founder has been replaced, it is the entrepreneur who is running the organization (often with the title of CEO, president, or executive director) who becomes the evangelist.

The evangelist is also the external face of the organization. People want to understand the evangelist’s underlying motivations for leading the organization and be captivated by the organization’s founding story and long-term vision. The evangelist can skillfully weave together the organization’s mission and programs with stories that express it in personal terms in order to truly “evangelize” and convert nonbelievers.

2.Scaling Partner. The second role that is required is the scaling partner. This person is the organization’s pragmatist, someone who can think strategically and make the evangelist’s vision a reality. Sometimes this position is called the COO, and other times the deputy or managing director. The scaling partner must enjoy creating and managing systems that improve organizational efficiency, as well as creating systems that allow staff members to enjoy their jobs and feel valued and rewarded.

“A lot of organizations are looking for entrepreneurial people who can build the plane while flying it,” says James Weinberg, founder and CEO of Common good Careers. “But at [the scaling] stage, they actually do need someone to just build the plane.” Or as Osberg says, the scaling partner is “someone who can unleash the productivity of the organization by ensuring that people spend their time in the right way.”

3.Connector. The role of the connector is to fill in the gaps left by the entrepreneur as he focuses on being the evangelist. Traditionally, this position might be called a vice president or director of development. It is also akin to the role that the chief of staff plays for a politician, maximizing the politician’s time and ensuring access to important people. The connector makes sure that the evangelist is speaking to the right audiences at the right time and capitalizing on all opportunities. In addition, the connector ties development efforts to programs and manages existing funding relationships, freeing the evangelist to spend time on other activities.

4.Program Strategist. All organizations—whether they are focused on education, health, or climate change—need a program strategist who is an expert in that particular field and whose role is to ensure that the programs achieve the desired outcomes. The program strategist not only has issue area expertise, but also understands how the programs are implemented in the field. This role brings credibility and expertise to the organization and its programs that may not have existed. The program strategist not only looks at how programs are running day-to-day, but also thinks about how the innovation can be scaled up, diversified, and perfected. Foote describes the program strategist as the “sacred flame” of the organization, responsible for creating a bridge between the reality of the programs and the vision of the evangelist. Without a program strategist with a strong voice on the leadership team, an organization can stray from its mission and end up scaling programs that do not produce the desired outcomes.

5.Realist. Every organization needs someone on the leadership team who plays the role of the realist, the person who keeps the organization grounded in financial reality. This person is often called the chief financial officer (CFO). Placing the financial function on equal footing with other senior management roles ensures consistency, practicality, and coordination within the organization. “The finance person is the bedrock position,” says Jim Fruchterman, founder and CEO of Benetech. “He or she inserts a culture of frugality and ethics, accountability for financial results, and reality.” The realist is more than a financial officer, he is also the person rolling up his sleeves and “minding the store.”