Culture & Climate

The rapidly changing world of philanthropy affects not only grantees but also the culture and climate of funding institutions themselves. Fio can help your staff navigate change and better align its culture with the work to be done.

Change Is the New Constant

The adoption of community impact models by an increasing number of United Ways and community foundations appears, at first, to change primarily how grants are made. But a closer look reveals the necessity for organizational transformation to support this new work.

Often, a change in philanthropic strategy causes shifts in:

  • The role of the Board in decision making about zones of interest and community-level outcomes to target
  • The CEO’s role in relating to other area funders
  • The role and visibility of staff in the community
  • The knowledge program staff need to effectively support focused areas of interest
  • The need for customer relations and consultative sales training for development staff
  • The need to reduce silos and increase collaboration and communication across the organization.

Essentially, the work shifts from transactional to relational, from high compliance to high creativity, and from longstanding codified practices to iterative and generative work.

Stress and tension emerge when changes in roles outpace changes in culture. When work units are managed with different value systems, competition and feelings of inequity are common. Without assistance, these negative interactions are usually blamed on personalities or leadership’s failure to discipline employees. Culture is rarely identified as the culprit.

How Can Fio Partners Help?

Our research and experience have shown that culture change requires the engagement and education of the entire organization. We have developed a set of training materials, assessment tools, and interventions to help all employees deepen their understanding of how culture influences their behavior and how, together with leadership, they can better align culture with the work to be done.

Key components of this process are:

  • An organizational climate survey
  • Training in the origins and impact of organizational culture on employee behavior
  • Culture mapping to determine whether different work units have evolved different cultures
  • Focus groups to identify specific areas of misalignment
  • Analysis of problem areas
  • Norms reset process
  • Identification of skill areas that need training
  • Provision of training needed and/or identification of other training resources.

Along the way, we provide coaching to key staff so that any critical interventions can be implemented, and so shared understanding and leadership capacity can be incrementally developed.