Reflective, Restorative Practice for Organizations

All too often we find ourselves running in a rat race of "making a difference" whether that be saving the rainforests of Borneo or working to end modern day slavery or to end the environmentally injust practices that plague inner city children with health ailments. We are often focused on creating that desired change in the world.

All too often we find ourselves running in a rat race of "making a difference" whether that be saving the rainforests of Borneo or working to end modern day slavery or to end the environmentally injust practices that plague inner city children with health ailments. We are often focused on creating that desired change in the world.

Did we save increased rainforest acerage, reduce the number of women and children who are trafficked or relocate the bus depot that is causing health challenges?

And, yet, we do not often stop to reflect on the health of the organizational system that allows us to affect that change in the world! How healthy is our nonprofit organization?

Just as reflective space is good for our individual souls and restoration so too is reflective space for organizations.

The organizational development tool that best offers this restorative, reflective space for nonprofits is an organizational assessment.

This building block is timely when an organization finds that:

  • Vital systems in the organization are breaking down.
  • People — board and staff members, constituents and partners — are not on the “same page.”
  • The organization is repeating destructive patterns, whether financial, emotional or programmatic, and cannot break the cycle.
  • There is a lack of clarity regarding organizational direction.
  • There is an upcoming major leadership transition at the board or staff level.
  • The organization wants to see the “whole elephant” and be intentional about planning their future organizational development.

With a thorough organizational assessment, nonprofit staff, board and key stakeholders come together to tell their collective story and create a shared picture of the group’s current reality. This becomes a shared road map, or North Star, that guides the organization's path forward as it evolves.

A well-facilitated organizational assessment:

  • Provides a shared understanding of organizational strengths and challenges among key stakeholders.
  • Develops common language to discuss the organizational system Identifying root causes, rather than just symptoms.
  • Builds a solid basis for identifying effective action steps.
  • Creates a shared momentum for creating change going forward.
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