For our first New Visions blog post, President/CEO Paul Feuerstein explores two new initiatives meant to strengthen the agency “as we face the continuing challenges of domestic violence and homelessness with (at best) the same level of financial resources that we have had in past years.”
Mission Based Management
Six years ago, we began a transition to Mission-based Management, a system developed by Peter Brinkerhoff who has dedicated his career to making not-for-profit organizations more mission-productive. I was introduced to his ideas through Columbia Business School’s Institute for Non-Profit Management.
A key factor in his approach is the engagement of staff at all levels in the mission, vision and values of the organization. Every two years, we initiate focus groups with staff and the people we serve to revisit our Mission and Vision and Value statements that guide our practice. A link to a short film illustrating our Mission is available at the top of every page of our website.
We have done a great deal of work in the past two years on anger (working with Therapist Anne Markowitz) and the way in which individuals can harness it in a more productive way. We plan to incorporate this recent work around anger into a new Value statement. Also, since our two largest programs are residential we want to build in new Value statements concerning community living.
Late last year, we introduced our organizational chart to all of our staff. By most standards, it is upside down! The Board and the executives of the organization are at the bottom and the people we serve are at the top, with the people who provide the most direct services to them being closest to the top. We are beginning the work with all of our staff about what that model means as it relates to how we conduct business.
Psychologist/writer Daniel Golemen has documented some of the leading work in Emotional Intelligence. He states that Emotional Intelligence has four parts: self-awareness, managing our emotions, empathy, and social skill. He makes the point that the most effective leaders are those who master those skills.
All of the work that we do is emotionally challenging for our staff and the people we serve. We are working to not only equip our leadership with the skills of Emotional Intelligence, but to set up systems to support that learning.
Coming Up: Donald Logan, BFL Chief Operating Officer, tackles the topic of taking Primal Leadership from concept to reality.