The Demise of Goodwill

The very sudden and very public downfall of the Goodwill Toronto charitable retail organization has received much media scrutiny as the unfortunate chain of events has unfolded.  At the time of this posting, the latest step has been the declaration of bankruptcy on the part of Goodwill Toronto.

Goodwill Donations sign on building
Source: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock

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There is no doubt that the Goodwill Toronto saga is complex and difficult.  While it is easy to speculate and analyze this case from the perspective of an outsider, this is a painfully real strategic human resources planning issue that links directly to the connection between strategic organizational mission and the delivery of business outcomes.  When these are not connected, the results are clearly devastating.

Marnie Soupcoff of the National Post, provides some thoughtful insight into this much needed connection between organizational mission and business results.

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Strategic organizational mission should drive everything down to the last detail of business decisions which end in operational and transaction based results. The Goodwill Toronto situation shows us exactly how this is all unfolded from a negative perspective.   The organization’s disconnection from it’s own mission statement seems to have fractured everything in its path right down to the messy appearance surrounding donation drop-off doors.

One can only hope, should Goodwill Toronto choose to rebuild, that they will take a different approach by using its mission in a pro-active and connected way in order to achieve a positive new start that supports a sustainable future.

Discussion Questions:

  1. As an HR professional, how will you ensure that an organization’s mission is embedded into functional business strategy?
  2. Have you worked in an organization where there was a clear disconnect between the organization’s values and its day to day practices? How did that disconnect present itself?
  3. What advice would you give to the CEO of an organization that is mission driven when it becomes clear that the mission is not supported by all employees?
  4. Would you resign from an organization if you thought it no longer upheld its own mission, vision, and values? If so, why?  If not, why not?