What is impact leadership?
4 December 2012
On the 16th January, NPC and Charity Finance Group (CFG) are partnering to deliver what I hope is going to be the most exciting conference for leaders of charities and social enterprises ever staged. The subject is impact leadership—what it takes to lead a social purpose organisation and really deliver on its mission.
But how can I possibly suggest this is going to be the most exciting conference ever, when the subject of impact often conjures up images of dry evaluations and lifeless statistics? Why is this something you should be looking forward to as you sit down to a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie over the festive period?
As NPC and CFG got together to co-design this conference, it struck us that there was lots of guidance on the technical side of impact—how to measure it, how to devise impact frameworks, how to communicate evidence and impact to the wider world. But what there was very little on was the culture of impact, and the leadership needed to nourish and drive that culture. So among our many stakeholders, friends and members, we would hear about the challenges that weren’t being addressed—the challenges that are a million miles away from research design and evidence standards.
How can a charity really focus on delivering on its mission, instead of on its own sustainability? How can a CEO encourage her board to embrace transparency, when it might turn out that means sharing the organisation’s failures as well as its successes? How can an FD work with his board to focus on a balance between outcomes and finances rather than managing the finances alone? How can a Director of Programmes gain the trust of her staff who fear that working on outcomes means eventually they’ll be subject to more scrutiny and performance management? How can a Head of Fundraising shift the culture of his communications and fundraising campaigns to build evidence into their key messages?
Ultimately, these are questions that each organisation needs to find their own answers to. There’s no rule book containing the right answers.
But what if you could put a conference together, we thought, in which leaders spend the morning focusing on impact within their role—whether that’s the CEO, FD, Operations or Comms & Fundraising perspective—and the afternoon working in teams to explore the right solutions for them at their stage in their impact journey? What if you could focus on culture, change management, and how organisations work, instead of evaluation, measurement frameworks, and impact reporting? Could you really help those leaders to inject new energy and purpose into their own impact journeys? Could you fuse content—case studies, presentations and panel discussions—with a learning approach, to give participants their own tailored action plan to build on the conference?
We think we can. That’s why we’re delighted to invite you—and your leadership team—to join us at The Brewery on the 16th January. To share your experiences, your challenges, and your insights. And to map out your route to even greater impact in 2013.
Read the full conference programme here.