Proudly (hesitantly) presenting our new shortcomings
We are a growing/learning organization and as such eliminating one shortcoming only means another one surfaces. That is perfectly OK. We are going after these next and become a better company in the process. So without further ado, here are our 'new' shortcomings.
A female/male ratio of 40/60 and no woman in the management team
Painfully, this was also a shortcoming in our first set of shortcomings back in 2018! That is not good. Women are under-represented and that makes that we are not functioning optimally. Especially with our SDG5 focus, we have to practice what we preach.
If we dig a bit deeper, of the people that have left the company over the last few years, about 40% were female. And of the people we hired since beginning 2020, the percentage female is again 40%. So, net we didn't improve. We are a small team and the absolute numbers show that the problem is quite solvable: out of the 22 people, 9 are women.
A potentially bigger problem is the fact that we don't have a female MT member. One small consolation is that our Supervisory board consists of two women and one of them is the chairwoman. Let's see where we stand next time we report back to you on our shortcomings.
We are trying to do too much
This is really getting embarrassing. One of the first shortcomings we identified was that we were bad at distinguishing important things from unimportant ones. What was it again? Say no to good things so you have time to work on amazing things? Why are we still not doing that? We held a day-long workshop by FranklinCovey on getting ourselves to work on non-urgent, important stuff and people dug it. But we still have problems reaching the goals we set for ourselves. We are definitely a high-achieving company, but it could be that we would have progressed further if we did more of the important stuff and less of the (perceived) urgent stuff.
We are not able to finance smaller SMEs and financial institutions
This one is born out of a previous shortcoming, namely that we found it difficult to balance between creating impact and scaling up. If we want to optimize the impact we create, we need to keep financing smaller SMEs and financial institutions. But we went the other way. As we were scaling up we had to increase investment sizes. We have put things in motion to reverse this and will employ financial technology such as algorithmic lending to get this done. Make money make impact!
Our salaries are significantly below market
As a young social enterprise we are not able to pay salaries that talented people such as our team members can make elsewhere. From a positive perspective, you can argue that our salaries are a selection tool to only get people on board who are committed to our mission (or filthy rich people, but if we have those, they are hiding it well). The problem is that the opportunity costs add up the longer you work at Lendahand. Next to the mission, there are definitely other things that make people stick around, but at this time we feel that the salaries are such that it is a shortcoming of the company. We have ideas on how to address this, and it's not just increasing salaries (although that is likely part of the solution).
We are not a net-zero company
As a company that is running an online platform, it shouldn't be that hard to be a net-zero company (assuming offsetting is part of it). We should calculate our footprint, see where we can reduce it, and then offset the remainder. Work in progress, watch this space and our blog!
Suggestions for improvement?
Do you have any feedback or suggestions for how we can improve upon these shortcomings? Please let us know by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We always welcome feedback from our crowd, positive and negative alike!