About us

In 2019, over countless cups of coffee and unnumerable grumbles, we couldn’t get away from the fact that a different approach was needed to overcome the entrenched problems facing the social sector.  Despite having secure jobs and steady bills, we decided to take the leap and do something about it – and so the Collective Impact Agency (CIC) was born.

The kind of organisation we're trying to be...

Since 2019, we’ve grown from an organisation of one employee to an organisation of five. As we’ve done so, we’ve tried to be very conscious and deliberate about how we are together.

 

  • We know that relationships matter, probably above anything else. We’ve tried to nurture CIA to be a company of relationships rather than a company of roles and hierarchies. We have explicitly rejected hierarchical management structures, believing that line management relationships can often be one of the most damaging things about organisational life. After all, who doesn’t have a story about the damage done to them by a previous boss? But without the simplicity and clarity that comes from ‘reporting lines’ and ‘role descriptions’, we’ve had to get creative about how we relate to one another and how we work together.

 

  • Stu made the following comment: “There seem to be two accepted ways of doing work - either you think in terms of work/life balance and try to maintain clear dividing lines between your work and your personal life, or your work dominates everything. It’s like we’re trying to create a third way: we start with the personal and build the work in a way that flows out of who we each are as people.”

 

  • We’re trying to be a company that begins and ends with recognising our own and each other’s humanity, where looking after each other isn’t relegated to line-management meetings or an accidental afterthought based on the relationships you happen to build with other staff members. Instead, it is the first and most important thing we attend to.

 

  • We’re trying to be an organisation where no-one is hemmed in by the confines of ‘this is your role, that is not in your job description’ but one where people are able to generate and get involved in work that interests them personally, plays to their strengths, and where we are all supported to step out of our comfort zone and develop new skills and interests.

 

  • We’re trying to be an organisation where everyone is able to influence the future of the company and no-one has the power to shut other people down based on position. We have already revised how people are paid based on a suggestion Anya made in her first three months of working here.

 

  • We each take a share in the administrative responsibilities of running the company - one of us looks after finances, another the website, another comms, others income generation. And we each just get on and make things happen in those areas, bringing each other in when we think it is necessary or helpful.

 

  • We’re trying to be a company that challenges lazy assumptions, that always questions even when it’s personally painful and potentially threatening, that isn’t ever prepared to accept ‘that’s just the way it is’ as an answer.

 

  • We talk LOTS. We talk as a whole group, as subgroups, as pairs. Sometimes we talk about nonsense or trivia. Sometimes we talk about our frustrations about all the things we don’t know or are not yet doing well enough. Sometimes we talk about how we’re personally struggling with our mental health, or trying to balance working in this crazy environment alongside caring for a small child, or the various other demands of real life like radiators falling off the wall overnight. We talk lots because we believe knowing each other deeply is critical for doing great work together. We believe that trust is critical for honest learning and that trust can only be built through sharing.

 

  • We are trying to replace hierarchy with trust and conversation. We trust each other to make the decisions they are best placed to make. When we need input from one another into the decisions we’re trying to make, we carve out the time to bring other people in to talk those things through. When there is a large decision about the company to be made, we treat it as a collective responsibility rather than a positional one. Decision-making is a result of successfully persuading each other rather than positional authority. But this doesn’t mean we always seek consensus. We recognise that we will not always agree with one another, but when we don’t, we make sure the minority opinion is heard, remembered, and never trampled on.