Thursday, September 20, 2007

Old Behavior: Command and Control

Cleveland is running far behind the pack in innovative behavior and its foundations are no exception. When around the country foundations and economic development organizations are working with small communities and entrepreneurs, the foundations in Cleveland are turning to the industrial approach. From Crain’s Cleveland Business Sep 3 2007: Sandra Kiely Kolb board chairman St Luke’s Foundation: “Foundations have taken a more business-model approach looking at collaborations... Maybe we’re asking the harder questions of nonprofits, but it’s for their own good.”

Business models are changing and here is Cleveland embracing old models and telling the nonprofits that it’s for their own good. Also the foundations have given up on the power of small group and individual behavior in economic development. From the same Crain’s article: “Mr. Abbott said the Gund Foundation during the last four years has partnered with other foundations to focus on Economic development because no entity is powerful enough to go it alone. And local foundations expect nonprofits to follow their lead.” Perhaps the foundations should be doing less leading and more supporting of innovative behavior. Perhaps the foundations should be doing less telling people and organizations what to do than partner with others in identifying and encouraging new ways of sustainability.

More than ever in Cleveland it seems to be “command and control” instead of “link and leverage.”