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The Podcast Blog


Financial Mindfulness and Strategy

“CF-Oh No!” (Episode 12 – “Financial Leadership During Disruption”), was one of the most popular Association Transformation episodes of 2020, with financial urgency, risk and reserve becoming a hot topic as disruption impacted every aspect of non-profit management.

Graeme Copestake, Director of Crossley Third Sector and Partner of the Crossley Group was keen to discuss further the impact the pandemic has had on the sector and to look at those organisations who have most successfully navigated their way through this period of change.

Key to success is strategy – this needs to be the bedrock of any organisation and needs to remain the focus, along with a calm approach, when serious decisions need to be made. 

Here, Graeme discussed how his organisation went straight to a business continuity model, but rather than substituting just profit, actually made sure that strategic objectives and keeping an eye on reserves enabled them to take action on the things that needed to be done.

Priorities obviously must be made in these situations, but by using mindful and patient strategy, groups can re-evaluate and adjust their approach avoiding knee-jerk reactions to the crisis.

With such unknown times ahead, perhaps it’s time to tear up the budgets and re-forecast - after all, purposeful abandonment is a justifiable strategy. It’s interesting to note how quickly organisations who totally abandon their entire strategy in an attempt to “just save the financial year” also quickly lose their identity and core values. This brings into sharp focus how committed was the organisation to those values and begs the question – how good was the strategic planning in the first place?

The hallmarks of a successful organisations are a Board who will listen to their Chief Financial Officer, and a C.F.O who listens to the rest of the operational team and really understands what is being said. These Boards have mindfulness at the centre of all aspects of governance, considering things such as inclusion, diversity and tackling racism and sexism from the highest level down. 

This past year has given us the opportunity to ask some challenging questions about the decisions made in creating strategies. Focusing on these questions rather than just blaming it on “a really bad year” and then examining the answers, no matter how difficult they may be, can only be a positive move toward successful governance and decision making.

Those organisations who are embracing the wider conversations about bias, inclusion and diversity are those who are succeeding, because they are more open to embracing the new, rather than clinging onto the old.

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