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A Collective Response to a Complex World

This is the inaugural entry of the new AJFCA blog.  It is our intention to use this space to share information, highlight key issues, and draw attention to emerging trends.  Each member of the AJFCA professional staff will have an opportunity to contribute so this space represents the collective and individual voices of AJFCA.  And, of course, we hope you will add your comments, so this blog can be truly interactive.

Lately, I have been thinking about the challenges our member agencies are facing in this increasingly complex world.  The constant bombardment of multiple and inconsistent messages from a variety of new and traditional media sources creates an overwhelming environment for many of the clients we serve, and moves at a pace in which many feel lost or confused.  As organizations, we are being asked to do more for more clients, to create new program models that produce measurable results, while at the same time our funding sources are being reduced or eliminated.

As our society becomes more complex, to be successful, our agencies need to become more complex as well - a version of Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety.  Complex systems require complex governance, but this must be accomplished in an ordered and direct manner.  The complexity of the overall system may mean that each component part is simplified, so our people and programs are not driven to distraction, but can concentrate on a clear and consistent purpose.

At AJFCA, we have taken it as our challenge to help our agencies navigate this complex world and continue to achieve positive outcomes for the individuals and families they serve.  We provide resources and consultations, a network for sharing ideas and information, and visibility for the critical role Jewish family services assume in our communities, thus increasing the potential for funding and promoting a public policy agenda to support that work.  We want each person in your organization – professional, board, and volunteer – to be able to concentrate on their critical tasks, while not losing their connection to the broader work of your agency and the collective Jewish family service movement.  Hopefully, the AJFCA blog will be another venue for our members to embrace complexities, derive solutions, and support one another.

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