Welcome back to ngoperformance! I’m sorry to have been away so long. Two things happened. First, I got a new job as Director of Programming & Effectiveness at Plan International. Second, my wife & I had a baby. There hasn’t been much time to blog!
The Plan job is fascinating. We’re building on vast experience across the organisation and ideas from the management agenda.
There’s senior support for piloting feedback systems and process standards. We’ve got a ‘Plan Academy’ on the agenda, aiming to inspire staff for social action. And there’s scope for progress around transparency.
We’re discussing all this internally under the banner of “the Performance Agenda”. It’s based on two main ideas:
- We should organise around the principle of “field managers running high quality programmes”. We need to make these very demanding jobs clearer and more manageable.
- As an NGO, our work is to contribute to other people’s efforts to improve their lives and societies. We do ‘development assistance’; they do ‘development’.
These are foundation stones for a range of initiatives, building on what’s already in place. I hope they bring people together around a common agenda: helping field staff provide high quality, relevant development assistance in the different places we work.
The big challenge is for our systems to balance field staff’s priorities with senior managers and donors’ priorities. Quite a juggling act, given the complexity of what we do and limited management resources.
Exciting times. So far, it feels like a wonderful opportunity to bring together leading practice from across the sector, in one of the biggest international NGOs around. And terrific new colleagues to work with.
I hope to provide some updates as we go, along with short blogs on other developments in the sector. I guess the organisational affiliation will affect my blogs to some extent. But I hope not too much. The site, ngoperformance, remains independent. You’ll be the judge!