The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Non-Profit Accountability

I’m not writing about Clint Eastwood’s movie, not really. I am writing about data and its co-star accountability.

So much of Onward’s work –whether it be assessments, strategic and operational planning, talent acquisition or helping an organization create an accountability model – so much comes down to these two stars.  Occasionally, as consultants we walk a tightrope with clients when their data tells a story of challenge.  How will the client respond?

I have learned a lot these past years working with a gamut of organizations –most fantastic, some …well, not fantastic. What’s the difference? Fantastic organizations want to be better.  They are willing to hear the good, the bad and the ugly and work together with data to improve, to seize opportunity, and be accountable for their work.   Their courage makes their organizations stronger, more efficient, and closer to achieving their mission.

The not fantastic? Well, they don’t.

They are threatened by data, may prefer to ignore data, deny the data or in some particularly egregious examples –hide the data. Those organizations that couldn’t (or wouldn’t) use data to inform and improve their work, suffered. Maybe not immediately, but over time.  The demand for their services decreased, their talent moved on, and their board and revenues dwindled.

Which are you?

Like Tuco said in the The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

I feel a man like you can manage it. And if you don’t manage it, you’ll die.  Only slowly, very slowly old friend.

Are you managing your data with courage?

Two new articles explore this reality deeper. One is Mario Marino’s post “Can you Handle the Truth?” It calls for courage facing and using data.  The second is an HBR article that looks into bad habits that stymie leaders’ ability to use data effectively.

Have a look and as Clint says:

In this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig.

Load up with data; aim better, work smarter, never stop learning and you won’t have to dig.