At the last day of the HBS course there are two cases about organizational scale ups. The first case was about an international nonprofit organization, which has the strongest similarity to WMF from all the cases. Organizational changes often mean a lot of stress inside of the organization.
Shortly after the Foundation was established the first chapters were created. In the following time both the Foundation, the chapters and other formal and informal groups grew up in a more or less organic way. In the past time we are more and more confronted with questions like: Who has which roles? Whom can we expect for what? Who has which duty?
Because our structures are so grassroot and so organical created, it poses some difficulty now to sort all these questions out. This is the reason why the board initiated the Movement Roles workgroup. It is a very important workgroup and its work will have influence on the organisation of the Foundation, the chapters and other friendly or informal groups. Because of this it is very very important, both for the Foundation, as well as the groups that would be potentially affected, to take part in this process, make their suggestions and work together.
At the end of the four days I would say that the course was a good investment for the Foundation. Even though the cases seem to be far distant from our own situation at the first glance, I inevitably discovers again and again similar situations and principles. We got some framework on how to analyse situations systematically, but more of that is that we got excercises in a lot of situations which can face a nonprofit organization in how to concentrate on the most important part of the board work: remain calm, always keep the mission in mind, and communicate.
The course was very intensive. Everyday we studied three to four cases. Every case had a discription of about in average 30 pages. The day started at 7:30 with groupwork on the cases of the day and ends at about 17:00. But that doesn't mean the end of day. On the receptions afterward and on dinner table discussion would go on and on. After I closed my door in the dorm and started my recapitulation about the next days course.
Although the days were very tough, I never felt sleepy in the classrooms because it was so interesting, so challenging and so engaging. I only noticed how tired I got went at the end of the day I shut off the light and fall almost instantly into sleep.
Preparation is important for the course. Who go to the course without studied the cases beforehand would find himself lost quite soon. Because the cases are all quite complicated and long, one need to cross read them one day before again so that the details can come back into the memory.