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December 8, 2014

Mission matters

Executive Director’s note from Issue 10, December 2014.

Duncan Peppercorn

In all the work that we do; whether with non-profits, social enterprises, funders, corporates or government; we focus on making Australia better for those who struggle in our society. To participate in their communities, to get the support they need to lead fulfilling lives, to overcome illness or disability, to get a job, to complete school, to get a home… SVA Consulting’s mission is to use our skills and experience to help. If we were not clear on that (and, frankly, we struggle to find the catchy words to say it despite being clear), we wouldn’t attract the amazing staff we have, and we wouldn’t be able to do the quality of work that we do. We wouldn’t attract supporters, and we wouldn’t attract clients. Our mission is germane and fundamental to our business.

A few months ago, our Editor, Karen Prout, and I spoke with Graham Long at Wayside Chapel, with the intent to understand how Wayside has progressed and developed since we worked with Wayside on a ‘strategic plan’ seven years ago. That discussion, which we have held over to be a Christmas present in this issue, challenges all our assumptions about what we do, and emphasises the absolute primacy of mission in what Graham and the Wayside team do. On the back of that discussion with Graham, we convened a discussion with three highly regarded CEOs to investigate the role of mission in their organisations. Central – as you might expect! – but there are also some rare insights in the resulting article into how the mission underpins their work.

At the same time, new areas and new challenges are opening up for ‘mission-driven’ organisations. How to manage mission and money in providing affordable and social housing? How to maintain mission in the new ‘individualised funding’ NDIS model? Shaun McMahon investigates the former, and Jeanne Allegro the latter in this issue.

As well as mission, and the challenges of being mission-driven, we are also touching on the problem of replicating ‘bright spots’ in the school system. Our colleagues in the SVA Education team have shared their ‘work-in-progress’. And finally we have disassembled that most prevalent and mocked of consulting tools: the ‘prioritisation matrix‘, or ‘two-by-two’. You, too, can be an expert two-by-two practitioner…

I am handing over the baton as Managing Editor of the SVA Quarterly (and, indeed, the baton as Managing Partner at SVA Consulting) to Olivia Hilton. This publication (which is, in fact, Liv’s brainchild) will continue undiminished. As always we welcome your input and feedback, and it informs what we publish.


Duncan Peppercorn
Duncan Peppercorn
Associate Director,
previously Executive Director, SVA Consulting

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