The road to impact at scale is a nonlinear, complicated one! This just released report from Scaling Pathways, a partnership between the Skoll Foundation, USAID, Mercy Corps Ventures, and Duke University, shares insights from leading social enterprises who work on problems that are deeply entrenched, depend on cross-sector collaboration, and require multiple pathways to create systems-level change.

Talent… one of the most universal challenges in running successful organizations and also one of the most significant investments. We know that without the right people in place, our missions are not achieved, and our impact does not scale. And yet talent is often misunderstood, overlooked, and under-resourced.

Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator shares five lessons in this new report about evolving talent to drive impact at scale:

Lesson 1:

“Talent takes many shapes, and people have the potential to do things they haven’t necessarily been trained for or done before.”

We work with businesses and young people to shift traditional beliefs and assumptions about who can do the job – and we apply this thinking to our own hiring as well.

Lesson 2:

Scaling up successfully means you have to double-down on culture.”

This means developing intentional strategies to ensure that your talent remains aligned to the organization’s north star, and highly motivated to be part of the bumpy journey!

Lesson 3:

“Feeling good about social impact can be rewarding, but not as much as feeling like you can apply your knowledge and skills to actually solving the problem.”

Smart people like to solve hard problems. And social enterprises are usually tackling the hardest problems, especially as they scale.

Lesson 4:

“We needed to shift our culture for staff to feel more ownership of the youth unemployment challenge beyond just our own work.”

To enable systems change, our talent need to see partners as being on the “same team” to more quickly scale up solutions together. This has really helped us think about building and delivering impact with and through others—and not trying to do more and more on our own.

Lesson 5:

“Everything starts and ends with people. What can your people imagine and what can they do?”

The work of defining culture and growing people ultimately drives every other performance metric in the organization— from strategy and partnerships to operational success and delivery.

 

Read the full report at People Matter: Evolving Talent to Drive Impact at Scale , and also check out other resources at www.ScalingPathways.com.

Organisations featured in the report include Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Campaign for Female Education, Crisis Text Line, Foundation for Ecological Security, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, Health Care Without Harm, Health Leads, One Acre Fund, Root Capital, Teach for America and VisionSpring.

This article was written Maryana Iskander, CEO of Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, and based on a report published by Scaling Pathways, for release on 12 September 2019. 

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