What is the importance of storytelling?

Cases of modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK have nearly doubled in the past year! In 2017 there were 5,145 people referred as potential victims of trafficking to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) in the UK. Sadly the NRM figures only represent a snapshot of the problem of trafficking in the UK. There are actually many more who have been exploited and trafficked but go undocumented.

Ella’s story… Ella is one example. Ella was in a terrible mental and physical state when she left the brothel in London she had been in and was neither prepared nor capable of talking about her situation. The NRM relies on a testimony to determine the status of a victim, so Ella was deemed ineligible for support. Ella was extremely vulnerable and yet could not access care and a safe place to stay when she needed it most. Click here to read more.

Ella’s, a London based charity, addresses the current challenge of limited aftercare provision in the UK for women who are exiting from sexual exploitation through human trafficking. Ella’s are able house women to enable their recovery from sexual exploitation and support them back into life, community and freedom.

Over the last few months some of our Advisors have been working with Ella’s Home to facilitate a strategy renewal process. Faaria (Hussain), David (Coates), Simon (Oldroyd) and Ben (Oldroyd) have provided an input. The most recent session focused on the importance of telling authentic stories, such as Ella’s story, to communicate the vision of Ella’s Home. This has lead to the creation of a ‘rich picture’!

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Mary Anne Radmacher Quote: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow”

You are not a Human Resource?!

In a section devoted to ‘Human Resources’ in Charles Handy’s latest book, he argues passionately that people are not ‘resources’. Charles summarises that: ‘work needs to be ORGANIZED; things should be MANAGED; people can only be encouraged, inspired and LED’. He reasons that many organisations avoid the term ‘resources’ wherever possible. This is because ‘it implies something that is controlled by others; a thing to be used and deployed as others see fit’. His latest book can be sourced here. Charles has been actively involved with Caplor Horizons over the years, for example regarding a booklet which you can see by clicking here. Charles has suffered from a stroke. Various people have asked after him. We have seen him from time to time and will next visit in early Sept. He is thankfully making a good recovery.

Renewal of website. Our website has been completely recreated thanks to the tremendous artistry and dedication of Rosie; also to the wizardry of Deven (Thakkar) in his ongoing technical back up. We hope you will like the new website: www.caplorhorizons.org

A new film. Please click on the attached to watch a short film (less than two mins) about ‘CEDAR’ an outstanding NGO that we are collaborating with in Tamil Nadu, India. Congratulations to Gareth (Jones), who did the filming, and Simon (Oldroyd) for the great partnership in generating this. For more of our films visit our website here.

As part of our ongoing collaboration with Edmund Rice, we have been fortunate to have Fiona (Dowling) and Dean (McGlaughlin) visit this week and particular thanks to Sharon (Turnbull), Peter (Moore) and Simon (Oldroyd) who contributed so proactively during various sessions.

What is the Leaderful Way?

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What is The Leaderful Way? Dr Lynne (Sedgmore) CBE, who recently joined us as an Advisor, has just created ‘The Leaderful Way’. The Leaderful Way embraces the vital question: “How can everyone lead together to achieve a sustainable future?” It offers an integrated approach with three pathways: ‘Soul’, ‘Service’ and ‘Synchronous’. The paper provides insights into some fascinating emerging literature, the benefits and challenges of practising ‘The Leaderful Way’. Also some ideas about how The Leaderful Way can be practically implemented. Click here to read the paper. And here for more background about Lynne on our website.

This week we have been with Dharohar, a not for profit based in Udaipur, India. Dharohar run experiential learning programmes in schools and in public spaces which encourage children to break out of their textbooks and explore the world. Our contribution has centred around leadership and team development. Some pupils at a secondary school along with a teacher and members of some of the Dharohar team are pictured here with Ian. In this session, the pupils are taking part in a very engaging exercise to gain new insights about science.


Starhawk quote: “In leaderful groups we can create powerful zones of action where many people can become effective agents of change. All of us can be respected and rewarded for our contributions, supporting one another to act”

What can we all do about bad behaviour?

We all have a responsibility to challenge bad behaviour at work. In a recent article, Stella Smith talks about workplace culture. Accepting damaging behaviours, she says, may mean they become embedded.  Stella argues that creating a healthy organisational culture involves various actions: e.g. taking responsibility, giving your colleagues honest feedback and tackling challenges proactively before it’s too late. Click here to read an article by Sharon (Turnbull) about cultural change.

Caplor Droplets!?  We’ve just started a project, with Gareth (Jones), a new Advisor, to create very short films about our collaboration and impact, known as ‘Caplor Droplets’. Our first (below) focusses on one of our partners: Dementia Matters in Powys. Many thanks to all involved! Gareth is a very experienced filmmaker and journalist.

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We are also very happy to have another new Advisor, Jenny (Coates), a student from Cambridge University, full time with us for 5 weeks (pictured here). She started on Monday and will mostly be focussing on The Commitment. Welcome Jenny!

Helen Keller Quote: “When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”

Do you have untapped potential for leadership development?

New research reveals an abundance of untapped potential for leadership development in the social sector. Despite the complex challenges facing the charity sector, many organisations are not accessing and engaging with opportunities to develop the leadership capabilities and relationships necessary to tackle them. A new Clore Social Leadership research report suggested the key reasons for this are 'cost, time and confusion'. Public perceptions of leadership still remain associated with 'status, hierarchy and heroism'.

A possible solution? According to the report, “the interviews highlighted a firm belief that leadership development should be available to everyone – not just ‘elites’.” Many individuals possess the desire to create opportunities to learn from others within and across sectors through peer-to-peer learning and mentoring.The research calls for a “generous and smart exchange mechanism in which social sector leaders can participate and support leadership development.” This is the approach that Caplor Horizons believes in.

One organisation that has benefitted from leadership development support is Quench. Quench is a social enterprise hub in Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK. It aims to ignite social businesses and support social entrepreneurs. It is also developing mentoring services for excluded school age children and communal meeting services for the elderly and lonely in the community. In 2019, Caplor Horizons have been providing regular support to Quench in 3 ways:

  1. Coaching on a monthly basis of the 3 senior leaders;

  2. Leadership and strategy inputs

Two presentations on the 'Innovia' programme which provides support to social enterprises: these focus on (i) Customer Discovery and Acquisition; (ii) Social Innovation, Impact and Profit. Pictured below are some of the participants from the programme.

Simon Sinek Quote: “The responsibility of leadership is not to come up with all the ideas. The responsibility of leadership is to create an environment in which great ideas can thrive”

What does your culture tree look like?

What is a Culture Tree?! Organisational culture is very important. Various tools are available. We recommend people consider our ‘Culture Tree’. Click here to see a presentation about it. You are welcome to contact us if you would like to know more.  

The Culture Tree builds on the internationally renowned work of Gerry Johnson and Kevan Scholes. They first proposed a ‘Cultural Web’ for looking and changing organisational culture. We have focused on a tree for a few reasons. For instance, like a tree growing, to emphasise the living, dynamic, changing nature of culture and how it can have seeds giving the possibility of starting everything afresh. Also we have symbolised the roots of the tree to be ‘values’ which we believe can be crucial nourishment to organisational culture. This includes to what extent organisational values celebrate and value diversity and difference. How do they help give people a sense of passion and purpose to succeed?

The branches of the tree are summarised as follows…

  • What are the Stories inside the organisation and what do they tell you about who is valued? 

  • What Symbols around the organisation tell people that you value difference and embrace equalities irrespective of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age and so on?

  • Is there a level playing field for opportunities and progression that is supported by theStructures? 

  • Are your Control Systems measuring the right things or do they promote bias?

  • Do your Routines and Rituals celebrate inclusivity and collaborative behaviours?

  • Is the Power and influence in the system only vested in an ‘old boys’ network or is it possible to rise to the top or influence outcomes on merit and irrespective of background

Professor Sharon Turnbull, one of our Advisors, has written two Thought Leadership Papers relating to culture. Click here to read about leading successful and lasting cultural change; and click here to read about understanding, living, and leading the values of your organisation.

Thank you to all our supporters and Advisors! We are fortunate to have over 60 members along with some Trusts and Foundation’s that provide much appreciated support. Many of our supporters are also Advisors. For instance, Kay and Richard Harvey have been tremendous supporters from the outset. We have recently had meetings with Richard, who is also an active Advisor. For instance, engaging with him to meet Will Mansell, the CEO of The Grace Foundation, a social enterprise in Gloucestershire, UK who we have been working with.

What is a quadruple bottom line?!

The Triple Bottom Line – People, Planet, Profit – is an important framework designed to enable organisations to extend their horizons beyond the economic norm. John Elkington coined the term in the 1990s. He stated that it focuses organisations “not just on the economic value they add, but also on the environmental and social value they add or destroy.” This approach can be used to produce standardised reports and drive positive action. Click here to read more in one of our Thought Leadership papers.

More recently the notion of a quadruple bottom line has emerged. The fourth bottom line, often named ‘purpose’, is also sometimes expressed in terms such as ‘soul’, ‘spirituality’ or ‘culture’. A sustainable organisation needs a healthy sustainable culture in which every member feels connected to the core purpose. A quadruple bottom line approach is very relevant to the huge challenges and opportunities facing humanity.  

This week, we have our fourth engagement in The Gambia helping to assist women farmers in making their organisations more sustainable. A quadruple bottom line approach is being used as a framework. This includes: assisting the farming organisations in becoming more economically viable; strengthening leadership and team-working; identifying methods and strategies for reducing impact on the environment; supporting the wider development of organisational culture. A big thank you to everyone who has been involved in different ways so far. Particularly Denise (Mulligan), Chandra (Ladwa), Saf (Ghapson), Fraser (Williams) and Dan (Bishop).

Are you swimming in a blue ocean?!

The world’s changes and complexity present opportunities for new ways of working and greater impact. ‘Blue oceans’ can open up?! Renée Mauborgne and Chan Kim are Professors of Strategy at INSEAD. They created an internationally respected and compelling notion about blue and red oceans, originally based on insights from businesses. However, the idea applies to any sector.
In not-for-profits, ‘blue oceans’ are new opportunities for achieving exceptional impact. For example, through the application of information technology in new ways.  A blue ocean has the ‘wide and deep potential of unexplored areas’ where the ‘rules of the game’ are waiting to be set. By contrast most organisations – trapped by conventional thinking – are struggling in ‘red oceans’ in which many other organisations are operating with a similar focus or approach. As the challenges facing the world increase – such as the urgent need to promote highly effective ways of tacking climate change – it is vital to consider blue ocean strategies. Here is a summary of three of the main ideas….


Thinking about oceans! At Caplor Horizons we encourage organisations to ‘learn, think and act differently’. One of the main tools for doing this is our ‘Voyage Board’. Click here to see the board. And here to see the one page insights. The board and icons can stimulate people to think creatively. Many thanks to Ann Alder and Geoff Cox who had the initial inspiration. And to others in Caplor Horizons who helped develop it.

SWAN Advocacy provide ‘advocacy services to support a diverse range of vulnerable people across the South West of England’. This week we are facilitating a strategy review with trustees and staff. We’ve been engaged with SWAN Advocacy in different ways since 2016. With appreciation to all Advisors that have been involved. For instance, Iain Patton who has provided mentoring input to the CEO.

Renée Mauborgne quote about blue ocean strategy: "You should feel afraid. That doesn’t make you weak. It’s what makes you normal and human because it’s shifting from what you know to imagine new possibilities."

Are you like velcro?!

In our Thought Leadership paper “Leading NGOs in the VUCA world”, Sharon (Turnbull) describes why today’s world is changing faster than ever, and why the challenges we face are becoming even more complex than those we have faced in the past (click here to read the paper).
One potential response is to become what Joseph Bower, a Professor at Harvard, calls a Velcro organisation! This is one that can be arranged and rearranged rapidly to meet multiple changing needs and opportunities. Velcro organisations have ‘permeable boundaries, see and implement novel configurations with others, take risks and lead their sectors’. Their leadership style is ‘bold, courageous, restless, far-sighted and proactive’
Like a garment held together by Velcro, they operate effectively in one configuration but can be pulled apart and rearranged to a very different shape ‘when the sun comes out, or a hailstorm arrives’. This may sound unsettling and demanding but there are great rewards as well.
Our new climate change initiative involves existing people that we know as well as developing new relationships. For instance, we’re very pleased and appreciative to be extending our long term collaborative relationship with Co2 Balance. This has led to Caplor Horizons being carbon neutral as part of their ‘carbon zero programme’.


What would to say to the next generation?!

Charles Handy has been described as ‘one of the giants of contemporary thought’. We’ve been very privileged that he has been very actively involved with Caplor Horizons from the outset. For instance earlier this year Charles accompanied us to India to contribute to two of the organisations we have been working with there (see picture below). Many people heard that he had a stroke. We met him very recently. We’re pleased to pass on that he is making a good recovery. For those who are not aware of his work, according to one reviewer, ‘Charles’s earlier books - including Understanding Organizations and ‘Gods of Management - changed the way the world viewed management. His later work on broader issues and trends - such as Beyond Certainty’ and The Second Curve - changed the way we view society’.


Charles is pictured below talking to members of the core team at Alliance India in an activity called ‘the empty chair exercise’ in which he was responding to questions and sharing his insights and perspectives. 

Charles has a new book called ‘21 Letters of Life and its Challenges’. One reviewer explains how ‘Handy builds on a life's work to glimpse into the future and see what challenges and opportunities the next generation faces. How will people cope with change in a world where the old certainties no longer apply? What goals will and should they set themselves? How will they find purpose and fulfilment in their lives? Clear-eyed and optimistic by turns, he sets out the questions that everyone needs to ask themselves, and points us in the direction of the answers.’

This week we have been with Enclude, a very dynamic technology focused organisation based in Dublin. We are excited about developing a long term collaboration with them. They explain: ‘we know that the problems of society that charities are trying to solve are complex and require a multi-faceted and interdisciplinary response. We want to bring affordable, trustworthy and effective systems to Irish charities so that they can maximise their impact. As a non-profit, our relationship with our clients is a genuine partnership between charities whereby we share our knowledge and resources in order to enable I.T. solutions to drive their mission’

Ella Fitzgerald quote:"it isn’t where you come from; it’s where you are going that counts"