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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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Envisioning_social_changes“When we assume we are separate, we build systems that reinforce that separateness.  When we assume we are interconnected and interdependent, we build systems that reinforce those connections.” 

Hildy Gottlieb’s new book  "The Pollyanna Principles" is a handbook for starting a revolution in social benefit organization design and practice, but it isn’t the revolution. What’s the catch? Well, it is going to take everyone, whether you are part of an organization or receive services from one, whether you are a philanthropist or a volunteer, whether you work for a for-profit business or are a community member. For social benefit organizations to truly “work” we all need to be part of the design, the process, the success. There are six core statements that represent The Pollyanna Principles and they include:



1.We accomplish what we hold ourselves accountable for. There are four basic functions of a board that relate to its ultimate accountability: leadership (the "ends"), legal oversight, operational oversight, and board mechanics (the "means"). Boards generally regard their accountability in a way completely asymmetrical in emphasis on the "means". A by-product of a "means" emphasis on "keeping the organization out of trouble" (legal and operational oversight) is a fear-based risk management system; as a result, the actual vision of the organization remains unfulfilled.


2. Each and every one of us is creating the future, everyday, whether we do so consciously or not. Community benefit organizations aim to solve problems; however, the 'problems' that many organizations attempt to fix are often symptoms of a larger problem that have been misdiagnosed as individual maladies. The vast majority of contemporary efforts to create better communities myopically focuses on the "problems of today" and ignore the future that is shaped with every decision. Focusing on the future allows for a greater context by which to measure "success"; it allows an organization to focus on the contemporary situation and what lies beyond it.


3. Everyone and everything is interconnected and interdependent, whether we acknowledge that or not. The assumptions the sector currently holds about interdependence are actually quite the opposite: competition and independence are the keys to success. Most grant processes, even the ones designed to encourage "collaboration" within the sector, are competitive by nature and resource centers ground their educational approaches in the "dog-eat-dog" mentality. If this competitive mindset were working, we would see amazing communities and amazing results from organizational efforts to improve them, but we do not.


4. Being the change we want to see means walking the talk of our values. The inclination to rationalize often allows an organization to unwittingly stray from its mission or even behave completely opposite from their ideology. 'Walking the talk' is at the root of the word 'integrity', however few organizations implement systems to ensure their values are upheld. 'Walking the talk' requires that systems are in place so that decisions that may lead to rationalization are solved before they even arise, even while survival-driven concerns can complicate even the simplest choices.


5. Strength builds upon our strengths, not our weaknesses. Community strength is built on the strength of the organizations that serve it, however most of the work being done by community benefit organizations is being done with an attitude of scarcity and weakness. This scarcity assumption yields a focus on what will bring in money and what aspects of the organization are in a crisis state. When the scarcity assumption is replaced with an assumption of strength, the whole world changes: 'can't' becomes 'possibility'."


6. Individuals will go where systems lead them. None of the standard systems used by this sector – planning, governance, development etc. - are aimed at potential. These systems primarily focus on reactive or incremental change vs. creating a proactive, extraordinary future for our communities. Individuals and groups will go where the systems point them. What is needed are systems that set high expectations and inspire decisions that aim towards those expectations.”


The first step is to admit that we have a problem. Next we need to start driving our work with our vision of how we want the world to be, instead of what the problems are before us. What does that mean? Well, imagine that your organization said you wanted to have a public education system in your province that provided opportunities for all students to learn, fair pay for both teachers and staff, opportunities for growth for students, teachers and staff, and an entry point for all students to enter the “real world” prepared. You can imagine that by operating under that vision (instead of focusing on drop-out rates, teacher pay scales, or job skill training) that partnerships with the community, new opportunities for learning exchanges and career paths, and much more start to take shape organically, naturally.