I’ve learned a lot from my buddy Tom McLaughlin, but the moment I first became a devoted fangirl of his was when I heard that he had quipped, “organizational culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
It’s true. It’s so true in nonprofit technology that it hurts every time I think about it. However, I was immediately and immensely grateful to Tom for articulating so succinctly and eloquently what had been merely tacit knowledge for me.
One of the biggest problems in any nonprofit technology implementation is the difficulty in reconciling it with the organization’s culture. It’s not just that individuals within it may not want to learn new things or do things differently – it’s that every organization is a delicate ecosystem of incentives, disincentives, alliances, and hostilities. A change in information and communication technology systems can easily upset the organization’s equilibrium. Just the same, new implementations may become necessary, and at that point the challenge is not to arrive at an abstract understanding of group dynamics, but to gain the good will and participation of all the stakeholders by demonstrating that the potential benefits of the change are far greater than the threats to the status quo.
In other words, getting buy-in becomes a crucial goal; its a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for the success of the implementation. This is a cost-benefit analysis that takes place at a very emotional level at a nonprofit organization.
That’s where Kathryn Engelhardt-Cronk can help. She’s just published a white paper on “Getting 100% Buy-In for Your Next Nonprofit Technology Adoption.” You can download it for free from the Community TechKnowledge web site. I strongly recommend it!
(And now for a full disclosure of financial relationship: I’ve served as a paid consultant to Kathryn’s organization, Community TechKnowledge, for some time. However, she did not ask me to endorse this white paper, and she certainly is not paying me to recommend it.)