Mindset shifts for charity agility

The 5 mindset shifts we need to make to enable our charities to thrive in our complex and uncertain world
The 5 mindset shifts we need to make to enable our charities to thrive in our complex and uncertain world

Mindset shifts for adaptability

We’re excited to share a new tool with you. Well, actually it’s a very old tool… one we’ve been using for years, but never felt it was quite right for our sector.

So, we have updated Thoughtworks’ original diagram to make it specific to purpose-driven organisations.

These are the shifts we need to make to enable our organisations to thrive in our complex and uncertain world.

The goal isn’t necessarily for us to be operating entirely over on the right hand side of the diagram. Instead, moving further towards the right in certain areas will unlock more adaptability.

The 5 mindset shifts we need to make to enable our charities to thrive in our complex and uncertain world

Shift your mindset to transform your charity

Here is a little more detail about what each shift might look like:

  1. From outputs to outcomes.  This looks like setting clear goals around what will be different because you delivered your work – measuring learning around and movement towards these goals. (Rather than setting targets, measuring KPIs and monitoring silos separately)
  2. From hierarchies to networks. This looks like decisions being made collaboratively by the do-ers and feedback flowing both ways. (Rather than decisions happen at the top, team updates go through managers, feedback only comes from above)
  3. From controlling to empowering. This looks like teams feeling safe, being supported and challenged to agree what they work on, making decisions and measuring success. (Rather than managers deciding what work is done,  signing off at every stage, success measured by managers.)
  4. From predicting to experimentation. This looks like getting started with something quickly, learning your way forwards measuring progress against outcome-focused goals. (Rather than creating detailed plans upfront with progress is measured in terms of deliverables).
  5. From isolation to transparency. This looks like teams representing themselves directly and being fully involved in decisions and
    budget discussions. (Rather than managers make and then share decisions, budgets decided before work starts, leaders talk mostly to each other).

Use this visual to drive change

We use this diagram almost every day. Here’s some ideas for how you can use this diagram to help you drive more agility and adaptability in your charity:

  • Reflect individually on where you are now in terms of how you work, manage and lead.
  • Together with your team, mark on a scale where you feel you are at the moment in each area.
  • Highlight areas that you feel are working well and those that aren’t. What might be driving that?
  • Identify one area you want to focus on moving towards the right hand side and create one small action to get started.
  • Use it as a visual to create a shared understanding of the changes you are focused on.
  • Build a vision of success with your team by discussing “what will we notice when we’re operating on the right hand side of this diagram?”

We would love to know what you think and how you use it!