Risky Business: A fresh approach for growth

In my last post, I made the case for adopting a healthy attitude towards risk in order to promote sustainability and growth in impact. My ‘s-curve’ maturity model illustrates the different phases an organisation goes through and explains why so many stagnate at the maturity level.

The maturity 's' curve

Below are four possible strategies an organisation can adopt to breakthrough from the plateau stage and enter a new phase of growth; a new s-curve.

Fresh thinking

People are at the heart of your organisation; their performance governs its success. Staff should be coming up with fresh ideas and have the freedom to initiate them. In short, your organisation should cultivate a culture of creativity.

Valerie Pierce, a philosopher and best-selling author who leads workshops at NCVO, believes the required creative techniques can be learned. Her work helps us to retrain our minds and to break old habits.

NCVO Events page   

Fresh perspective

It’s important to review your organisation’s performance but it’s even more valuable to have it reviewed from an external perspective. The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) suggest the performance of an organisation’s Board should be externally reviewed every three years.

The NCVO Governance and Board Review helps trustees review their performance from an impartial perspective. We provide governance reviews, trustees skills audits and board performance reviews. This robust review provides better clarity on roles, processes for control, accountability, integrity and trustee satisfaction.

Fresh ways of working

Often ways of working have evolved over time rather than being designed. As our operating environment changes, so these processes need to adapt to remain fit for purpose.  Symptoms of inefficiency include work duplication, poor allocation of resources, completing unnecessary activities and slow decision-making.

The NCVO Process Review workshop will help your organisation secure a sustainable future by looking differently at how services are delivered. It highlights activities that are duplicated, add little value and/or result in additional effort downstream to correct errors. This will help create a more efficient, lean and agile organisation.

For more information or to book a place, please visit the NCVO Review workshop page.

Fresh faces

Bringing in new trustees to the board may provide the energy needed to breakthrough to a new period of growth. New skills, perspectives and personalities can help unlock your organisation’s potential and drive it beyond the plateau.

Recognising a need for new faces is one thing; finding the right people is something entirely different.  The Trustees Unlimited service helps organisations through every step of selection; from conducting an audit of the current board and identifying skills gaps, to searching for candidates who deliver the right diversity of skills and experience.

Want to find out more?

For more information please visit the Trustees Unlimited website.


If you’d like to explore the s curve maturity model further you can download the full published article, ‘Board and Risk’ by Nigel Kippax (PDF, 140KB).

Trustee Conference

Come to our Trustee Conference on 10 November 2014 and join our expert-led workshop, ‘Governance for Growth’


The NCVO offer a range of tailored consultancy services to support your organisation to reach its full potential. We advise in areas of governance, strategy, innovation, evaluation and volunteering.

Talk to one of our consultancy team today on 020 7250 2587 or visit the NCVO consultancy web page for more information.

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Nige was head of consulting and training at NCVO.

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