Our Blog

Can the Sectors Learn From Each Other?

Posted October 2, 2012 9:06 AM by Ted Jackson

Private sector organizations have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize return to shareholders.  Government agencies are tied to the political platform of their city, state or nation.  Charities are required to achieve their mission.  Can these organizations operating within completely different sectors learn from one another about strategy management?  Of course they can!  Let’s look at how.

Well, the target results are completely different across sectors.  Or are they?  Private sector focuses on financial result but increasingly have social good added to their strategy.  (See Collective Impact  by  Mark Kramer and John Kania.)Government agencies are increasingly focused on fiscal responsibility in conjunction with public service oriented results.   And charities are forced to compete for financial support by demonstrating results as well as low overhead costs.  Maybe the sectors have more in common than it seems at first.

Of course, only the private sector has customers.  Right?  As a citizen do you feel that you should be a customer of your government?  Do nonprofits value the perspective of their beneficiaries?  I think it is easy to agree that all sectors are required to satisfy their customers.

If any organization is striving to achieve outcome results and satisfy customers the only way to do that is to focus on the internal processes that will achieve those objectives.  Ultimately, every organization is a collection of systems and processes aligned to maximize efficiency and effectiveness at satisfying customers, achieving financial results and/or the mission.  (Take a look at Ken Millers, “We Don’t Make Widgets”.)

Similarly, human capital – skills, culture, innovation –make it possible.  People are the foundation of any organization and any strategy.

So, are there differences across sectors?  Yep.  Are there similarities?  Sure.  Is there an opportunity for learning across sectors?  Absolutely!  So, keep an eye out for best practices wherever you can find them.

Filed Under Best Practices