How do you measure success? At Growing Points we say that our success is achieving ambitions. Wartime Churchill, asked rhetorically about his ambition answered with one word; Victory! Hard to achieve but easy to measure.
In our less heroic times the Charity Commission asks us to ensure our Annual Report is outcome based and increasingly both government and industry are asked to confront the “So What?” question in justifying their results. Never mind the impressive profits and the big offices; what changed as a result of your stewardship?
We think it’s simple too; our customers tell us their ambition ( we even call them outcomes) and we hang on in until they are met. If we do we succeed and if we don’t we fail. Simple; but is there a chance that by concentrating on the aim we miss something more important?
Recently, Malvern Welcomes organised a Syrian-themed community meal. It was a lovely event, attended by 70 or so concerned people to raise the profile of our ambition to welcome Syrian refugees and raise some money to help them, and we did both ( ticked the boxes!)
But the undoubted star-turn was S, an Afghani who talked to us about how it felt to be a refugee in UK and why the reception we are planning is so important. He had left Kabul as a child when “quite suddenly people started firing guns at each other” and arrived destitute and alone in Coventry. He learned English, got a job and finished his education and he now helps organisations like ours prepare to receive refugees. The response to his presentation was unequivocal, we all agreed that he was a fantastic advert for refugees everywhere!
He exuded humility and confidence and a sense of ease which everyone found both reassuring and up-lifting. There was absolutely no ‘box to tick’ that would cover that but he certainly played a vital role in buoying us up in our belief that we were on the right track and we’re making a difference.
And everyone who works as Guardians for Growingpoints could tell you of similar feelings of humbling and breathtaking determination to achieve change and make a difference by our customers. It’s ultimately what drives us to go the extra mile with people who have already travelled many hundreds.
S reminded us that at the front of every refugee’s mind is the determination to have their children live in security. They are prepared to risk everything to achieve that ambition. That is very understandable to me and why Growingpoints are proud to be prioritising our work with refugees this year.
I hope we will be successful.