Education and Social Enterprise
Recently, we’ve seen some corporate high-flyers leave the world of business with large payouts and move into the social enterprise sector, only to crash and burn.
The common problem is that they have a completely different management style to that prevailing in the sector and the sector itself often does not welcome them in.
In our experience, many social enterprises regard business as "grubby and evil." The attitude is "We'll take your money but don’t want anything to do with you." They feel they have a "higher purpose" than the world of business. "We don’t need your business skills because we are working to a higher purpose," they say.
On the other hand, business people think social enterprises often struggle because they’re badly run. They think they will be easy to manage and just need a businesslike approach to turn them around.
But of course it’s hard to control volunteer staff. They won’t be motivated by key performance indicators or bonuses. They are often there on a mission.
Social enterprise boards themselves need to change and some have changed. Whereas previously the role of a board member may have been largely to help "bring the money in" and attend gala functions, today the role is to help drive strategy.
The social enterprise chairman is like the chairman of a public company, vitally involved in ensuring the social enterprise is on a businesslike footing. And the right CEO will hold the leadership team responsible for producing a proper strategic plan with proper processes to measure performance along the way…and without losing the passion that motivates staff and volunteers.