Report urges charity leaders to look outside their ‘bubble’

Charity leaders are being urged to seek views outside of their ‘bubble’ to ensure they can prepare effectively for the future.

A report from the Chartered Governance Institute UK and Ireland and the Centre for Synchronous Leadership (CSL) says that without outside help and opinion, charity leaders are in danger of having “blind spots” as they look to tackle emerging trends and issues.

The Covid-19 pandemic did encourage some charities to engage with experts outside of their organisation and to look ahead to the medium and long term, says their report.

But those that did not are “more likely to be on the back foot”, says the Institute, and be “overwhelmed with the volume of issues to cover and less likely to believe they are prioritising effectively”.

The Institute and CSL’s Mindful Exclusion report found that prior to the health crisis 18% of charity leaders did not look ahead to the medium and long term and more than half (58%) did not look out for potential blind spots.

“This report provokes us to get out of our bubbles, notice how we are instinctively excluding, and reconsider whether the criteria that we use to make decisions are fit for purpose,” said Institute policy and research director Peter Swabey.

“Pre-pandemic, technological strategy and issues of a holistic nature, such as organisational culture, talent management, diversity and inclusion, sustainability, broader social impact and other ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues, struggled to make it onto the agenda in any meaningful way despite the importance of these issues being increasingly recognised at the top of organisations.”

CSL managing director and report author Justine Lutterodt added: “The inclination to operate within a bubble is a fundamental part of how we are wired as human beings.

"We have a limited amount of time and attention to process huge amounts of data and are conditioned to associate group membership with survival.

“The cost of being ‘bubble bound’ is growing, however, as the world becomes more interdependent.”

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