to create safe and healthy playgrounds that will encourage development and improve the physical and social well-being of children. Instead of relying upon grants and donations, Kaboom’s business model is income driven. It generates revenues by charging for project management, supply, and licensing for its playground systems to corporate and community partners, who then provide volunteers to build the playgrounds. Kaboom also takes advantage of cause marketing programs by partnering with companies such as Stride Rite and Ben & Jerry’s. Nonprofit organizations need energy to support mission-driven activities. Managing the four enablers of positive deviance, “create, control, collaborate and compete,” empowers a nonprofit organization to align its values with its external environment to better serve and partner with stakeholders. Additionally, it provides framing for investments in human capital, organizational learning, and innovation to achieve social impact, thus placing nonprofits on the pathway of excellence by leading with the head, heart, and hand to produce transformational results. Lynn Perry Wooten is Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Clinical Associate Professor of Strategy and Management & Organizations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. As Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, she is responsible for developing and implementing transformational educational experiences for Ross undergraduate students inside and outside of the classroom through curricular initiatives, academic advising, student life activities, and leadership development. Kelle Parsons is a research assistant at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, focusing on organizational management and positive organizational scholarship, particularly applied to nonprofit organizations and higher education. Prior to earning an MA and MPP in higher education and public policy, she worked in organizational development and change management.
take risks on emerging solutions. One recent innovation is the Acumen Fund’s partnership with Coca-Cola to bring safe water to one million children in developing countries. Control In contrast to creating, the control enabler focuses on positive deviance through efficiency, stability, and quality. Achieving positive deviance by enacting the control enabler requires organizations to pay close attention to managing systems and aligning their processes to control costs and identify productivity improvements. Nonprofit organizations seeking excellence through control may embrace the ethos of “refine, reduce, and perfect,” and their work practices may entail a disciplined and process-managed approach to ensure that quality is incorporated throughout the key processes that support its mission. For example, KIPP’s (Knowledge is Power Program) mission is to create a respected, influential, and national network of public schools that are successful in helping students from educationally underserved communities develop the knowledge, skills, character, and habits needed to succeed in college and the competitive world beyond. KIPP’s theory to fulfill this mission is to manage charter schools with a strong focus on student achievement, with inputs to ensure student achievement, including specific learning pedagogies, consistency in the educational process, scaling for efficiency, and rigorous teacher training. Since student achievement and preparation for college are key metrics, KIPP schools have longer days, include extensive test preparation as an essential component of the curriculum, and track milestones to ensure their students are on track to attend college. As a result of KIPP’s concentrated efforts on the control enabler of positive deviance, students in KIPP charter schools experience significantly greater learning gains in math, reading,
science, and social studies than do their peers in traditional public schools (Ash, 2013). Collaborate Complementing creating and controlling is the ability of nonprofit organizations to implement effective collaborative practices. Succeeding through collaboration entails getting the right people on the bus and in the right seats as the organization pursues its mission. This includes not only a nonprofit organization’s employees, but also its trustees, volunteers,clients/customers,and community partners. By aligning everyone correctly, you create a web of contributors who bring their best selves to the organization and learn to work together to pool their expertise, experiences, and social capital to produce results. Girl Scouts USA is an organization that pays attention to creating organizational excellence through enabling collaboration. Girl Scouts emphasizes hiring practices and a team culture designed to reinforce the shared mission of Girl Scouts to “build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.” Moreover, their human resource practices are inclusive of their network of executives, staff, and volunteers, and focus on capacity building and collaborative actions so that the organization can respond to its environment and achieve its strategic priorities. Compete Whereas the collaborate enabler is internally focused, the compete enabler is a set of practices building positive deviance by leveraging markets (Crutchfield & Grant, 2008). The compete enabler involves nonprofit organizations learning the laws of economics, and adapting private-sector models by building corporate partnerships and developing earned-income ventures. The nonprofit organization Kaboom exemplifies the compete enabler. Kaboom’s mission is
References Ash, K. 2013. KIPP Schools Boost Academic Performance, Study Finds. Education Week, Cameron, K.S., J.E. Dutton, and R.E. Quinn. 2003. Positive Organizational Scholarship (eds.). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. Cameron, K. and M. Lavine. 2006. Making the Impossible Possible. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. Cameron, K., R. Quinn, J. DeGraff, and A. Thakor. 2006. Competing Values Leadership: Creating Values in Organization. Northhampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing. Crutchfield, L. and H. Grant. 2008. The Six Practices: High-Impact Nonprofits. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Quinn, R. 2012. The Deep Field Guide: A Personal Course to Discovering the Leader Within. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Spreitzer, G. and S. Sonenshein. 2003. Positive Deviance and Extraordinary Organizing in K.S. Cameron, J. Dutton, and R.E. Quinn (eds.), Positive Organizational Scholarship, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, pp. 207-24. Wooten, L. and K. Cameron. 2010. Enablers of a positive strategy: Positively deviant leadership in P.A. Linley, S. Harrington, & N. Garcea (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology and Work. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 53-65.