Charles Handy

The interesting thing about organizations is that they can make the assumption that they’re never going to die. And the reason that you stay immortal is you have discovered what’s unique about you. The job of the leader is to work that out. To express it. Very few leaders succeed in doing this. I ask a lot of leaders of organizations what it’s all about. They usually say survival. I say that’s only the first stage. If you’re no use to anyone, you can’t survive. What is it that you uniquely as an organization can contribute to the world?

Most don’t know the answer. Why then would you want to devote your life to an organization that can’t give something special to the world? No reason except that you get money or get a kick out of it yourself. But after getting those, you’ll probably leave the organization. Businesses have an enormous amount to learn from nonprofit organizations. Successful nonprofits have had to be very clear about their unique contribution and the difference they make to the world.

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