Recoding Organizational DNA launched July 11 during a kickoff where representatives from more than 16 organizations (including CEOs, board chairs, board members, communications leads, volunteers and more) committed to participate in six "labs" -- or workshops -- over seven months where they will learn, digest and begin putting into practice the changes asked of them as a result of the local community's homelessness efforts.
The overall premise of the initiative is this: Provide the time and space to explore how diverse organizations can unify around a common theme to share and learn, and to use their respective areas of focus to collectively make an impact. While the unifying topic for participating in Recoding Organizational DNA is homelessness, the work that will be conducted is not an attempt to solve the homelessness issue.
In order to be successful, this new effort, as outlined in the Marbut 12-point plan, requires agencies to move from:
1) Enablement to engagement
2) Agency-centric to system-centric
3) Output measurements to outcome measurements.
In other words, agencies will need to change how they think, operate and seek funding. This type of organizational change does not just happen. Attitudes, operational systems, funding, and habits need to evolve in order for change of this magnitude to become reality.
The kickoff event focused on:
1) Beginning to create the environment for these organizations to discuss, explore and share the change
2) Developing the familiarity and engagement necessary to establish trust
3) Establishing clearly defined objectives
4) Sharing the tools and resources that will be available to each agency
Upon reflection, I found the extent of the participation and comfort level surprisingly high given that board members, senior leadership and staff were in attendance (this usually creates a “reserved” dynamic). Each organization is there because they want to be, not because they have to be.
What is being done over the next month? The next lab is August 8, so between sessions we are making an intentional effort to the keep groups engaged without overwhelming them. For example, we have created and shared tools for each to use, and assigned liaisons to each organization in order to streamline communication. We invited each to an exclusive lunch with Rich Harwood of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, identified a date and time for social media training, and have sought feedback from each so that we can adjust as needed to provide the value each organization expects.
We thank the organizations that are participating and we are looking forward to August 8 Lab 1 – Leading the Change.
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