How specific interventions facilitated planning and commitment to culture change by a CSO paralyzed by uncertainty and fragmentation at leadership levels.

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Specific interventions used to increase self-awareness, new outlook and commitment to planned improved action and changes in organizational behaviour included:

  1. Deep analysisof emerging issues affecting the organization’s development in the current situation.
  2. Intervention processes that brought members into direct encounters with opportunities for increasing their effectiveness in institutional development.
  3. Facilitated participants to experience “aha” moments about their current practices that may not make anypositive difference even if increased.
  4. Challenged the organizations to action through participatory self-assessment of what was likely to happen if the situations stayed the same. The case of this particular organization highlighted such issues to be: 1) organizational visibility minimized; 2) limited advocacy potential; 3) limited leadership of the organization in its environment and erosion of its mission.

3.2.1. Questions related to leadership quality and performance surfaced

Through facilitated self-diagnosis, organizational members identified some 3 issues at the level of leadership that were seen to reflect pioneer phase of organizational behaviour. These are:

  • ED is isolated in the role of resource mobilization with little support from board members and other staff
  • Generation of ideas toward fundraising is limited to the ED alone, without broad team participation
  • Lack of consensus on strategic direction that RUHEPAI should pursue.

Something that was seen to be going well at the level of leadership is that the ED listens to expressed needs of colleagues, mentors and encourages them. It is interesting, however, that the perceived listening was mostly associated with personal welfare needs of staff—which is important, but also reflects a rather dominant pioneer quality in organizational behaviour, i.e., emphasis on relationship with the leader as head of family.

Through application of action learning on the experiences highlighted above, members came to realize that the dominance of the pioneer culture over a 10 year period was holding the organization back from investing energy and resources toward building the professionalism and ability of staff to contribute their leadership in various areas that required specialized input.

Supported by powerful reflective learning processes, members documented statements of commitment with regard to what they needed to strengthen or change in their organizational culture and practices at various levels. Such statements influencedthem to plan a total of 8 action steps, in the context of 2 organizational development objectives shown below.

CHANGE OBJECTIVE GOAL

1. Create spaces that build confidence and motivate staff and board to participate in RUHEPAI’s advocacy and project activities.

Organizational learning processes and facilitative leadership skills rooted in RUHEPAI are enhancing shared leadership and collective responsibility-taking

2. Strengthen RUHEPAI’s proactivity and skills in partnership building and networking

RUHEPAI's institutional capacity strengthened in advocacy, resource sharing  and cooperation with local NGOs in project activities

 

This particular organization is a grassroots NGO based in Uganda. Its project activities focus on household income security, agriculture and food security, water, hygiene and sanitation, environmental conservation and climate change, as well as sexual reproductive health and HIV/AIDS. The organization mainly works with rural women and youth, and also includes men as key stakeholders in family and community development processes. The change management support through OD intervention was conducted by EASUN in December 2015.