‘The organisations we create are a pure reflection of their leaders – their vision, their strengths, their character but also their fears, insecurities, and ego.’– Ben Lane, Acumen Academy UK
When we started writing our book, 4th Sector Entrepreneurship: How to grow sustainable, social impact…without losing your mind, we were encouraged to breakdown our argument into some key principles.
By the time we were finished we ended up with seven, all of which we will be talking about and reviewing in our blog series over the next 12 months as we get further feedback from leaders we talk to.
While some led to debate, we were never in doubt that the first one must be Clarity of the Individual Leader. Specifically clarity when it comes to their own purpose and values.
Again and again, we find that the stress we observe in leaders on a day-to-day basis originates from their confusion about what they want, not just in terms of what they’re looking to achieve but also but how they want to feel along the journey.
Personal clarity is the foundation of any leader’s effectiveness. So achieving this is not self-indulgence – it’s very practical.
All too often in this sector, leaders’ lives can be subsumed by the hard work and battles they face driving the organisation forwards, and important though that dedication and resilience is, ultimately the imbalance that results from making sacrifices elsewhere is bound to take its toll. Nobody wins.
Not only is leaving your real self at the door when you go in each morning stressful and unhealthy, we also have seen again and again how damaging this can be for an organisation and its stakeholders. By contrast, when work chimes with how you want your life to be, you become more productive and everyone gains.
So, in the interests of everyone involved – including you – it’s important to get the alignment between the personal and the organisational exactly right. Only by doing this can you maximise the value you’re adding to the enterprise. And when everyone can match the organisation’s purpose and what they themselves want from the party, work really begins to hum. You have the right people in the right place, committed to a clear set of goals and all supporting each other in making the right decisions to do the right things – for the social enterprise, for one another, and for themselves.
It’s a win for everyone.
So where do you start?
By clarifying your personal purpose and your personal values. As we shall start to look at in our next blog in this series, in simple terms, personal purpose is how you want your life to be.
You know there are things you love doing and are good at, areas where you can really create value. But is that what you’re actually focusing on, where you’re currently investing your time and energy?
If yes – great.
If no – well, how do you feel about that? And as we shall keep asking, what are you going to do about to change things.