laptop on a desk showing an up-trend chart

Lesson II: Strategic Growth

Transformation of a collective group of people requires a shared vision and a shared story. 

Growing without a strategy will waste years of time, talent, and resources. We wouldn’t dream of attempting to grow a business without a well-studied and well-planned strategy.  When we engage communities in transformational change, first an assessment of the area must be completed.  

What are the assets of this community? What are the untapped assets of this area? And what are the barriers to these assets being successful?  

After these assessments have been studied and explored, the community works to develop a strategic plan that can bring them into viable and resilient transformational change.  Our strategy has changed over the years as we have grown, failed, succeeded, and adapted to our constant learning posture in community work.  

With three phases of development addressing all 12 areas of holistic change, we know we are successful when we are no longer needed.

SURVIVE: addressing basic needs for life (physical, mental, medical, and emotional needs)

THRIVE: equipping individuals and systems for future success (vocational training, leadership skills, and educational support)

SUCCEED: creating opportunity through long-term development (prevention, income generators, and sustainable vitality)

We cannot be successful in the end if we do not first address the necessities for survival. A mother will not take time to finish school if she is desperate to get food in her children’s stomachs today.  In the business world, we can learn to delay gratification for future success. As an individual, one cannot begin to dream about tomorrow until we are freed from the burdens of today.  Your employees are much the same.

Employee Parallel

Begin with an assessment of your employees. Your employees will not begin to dream about the future until they are free from the burdens of today. 

Their hardships may be internal to the organization empowering their work. The burdens may be personal hurdles or home realities. Do you know how your employees are impacted by the challenges of this world? And a lack of hope for how to impact it?  

We make way for employees to strategically develop their work skills through TRAINING and DEVELOPMENT in order to LAUNCH them into the strategic plan of the organization’s future, but does your workplace holistically nurture the needs of the human inside the employee?  

How does the news of the world affect their productivity, their grit or inspiration?  Are they so burdened by the state of disconnect in the world that they have lost hope? 

Much of the disconnect is magnified by the generational disconnect in our workforce.  We will approach this topic more in our next lesson, but without strategy, we fall into transactional change.  These efforts can be fueled by good intentions, but often fall into fleeting efforts to bring a specific culture alive in the workplace…a day to serve locally, a winter gear drive, or a team-building initiative.  Each of these endeavors can be quality, but without a clearly defined, long-term goal behind it, the efforts will lack authenticity and neglect deep impact.