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Talent and culture continue to be the imperatives that drive everything! – Patty Hampton

Dear Social Enterprise Leaders,

I know you will agree that 2020 is the year we will all remember. I am also confident that you will agree that as we pursue bold goals into 2021, work and life will remain top of mind. Chances are, if you had a strategic plan in place prior to the COVID-19 crisis, murder of George Floyd and increased protesting and civil unrest, then you have learned how to intentionally press pause. Still, we must remember that we cannot move toward a more vibrant and sustainable future by ignoring the disruptions caused by extraordinary circumstances beyond our control. The types of change we are experiencing as a society have not occurred at this magnitude in our lifetimes. So, how are you handling it?

One would think that after decades of being a leader, mentor and coach, I would recognize the woman staring back at me in the mirror. My friends and family refer to this moment I am currently experiencing as “the awakening.” Some have even dared to call me “woke” but I could not give what I was experiencing any meaning or label right away. Instead, I stared back at the woman in the mirror and cried out “enough.” Enough.

One way I am keeping myself connected to what counts is by immersing myself into all things social enterprise. According to the World Economic Forum, social entrepreneurs play a huge role in the Great Reset. The Forum’s Great Reset is an initiative to improve the state of the world and an opportunity for social enterprise leaders to drive transformational and sustainable change in response to converging crises. However, let’s be clear; organizations cannot affect change without an intentional people management strategy. The World Economic Forum  displays provide timely insights and contextual intelligence that I continue to watch and I urge you to as well.

In my last blog, I mentioned how vital a role social enterprise leaders assume in moving a mission forward and that we must grow from all the past lessons learned across all sectors. I have learned that the “leaders do-it-all” mentality to expand and scale is neither helpful nor sustainable, no matter your size. Here is what I know. The long-game and future of your social enterprise rest heavily on people management strategies that are reflected in your organization’s vision, mission and culture.

As we face an uncertain future, now is the time to revisit and challenge every aspect of your organization’s strategic plan. Now is also the time to breathe life into a redesigned road map anchored in an organizational strategy crafted through a people management lens. I challenge you to rip off the band-aid. It is time to fearlessly examine and embrace the scars that have left many of us reeling. Some of those scrapes and bruises left us with open wounds that were never really dealt with when we began our leadership journey and worked diligently to craft a strategic plan.

And so, after what seemed like an hour of standing in the mirror, I smiled at myself as images flooded my thoughts. Lessons I have learned as a social impact advisor and leader hit me like a ton of bricks that day. Why? Because after more than 25 years of experience working with for-profits and especially nonprofits, my sensibility shifted without warning. I knew I was not staying true to my original mission—to be a transformational leader—and on that day I enlisted my full passion because the job is not done. With this in mind, I am challenging every social enterprise leader to rebalance your vision for your organization. Your strategic plan got you this far, but it will need so much more in the coming year. Reimagine your workforce. Two questions to ponder are: what is your people management strategy and what is the impact you will make in the communities you serve and in others’ lives?

If you are not ready to answer these two questions, then press pause. Your people management strategy needs to be the one thread that shifts you as a leader and gives way to transformational change. I’m looking forward to a more just and equitable future as a social enterprise champion. Join me as we march to a revived drumbeat in the approaching new year.

Social Enterprise Advisor/Managing Partner
Direct: 202.644.7423

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