The Development Center
Background/Situation: A regional eight-state voluntary organization for women was declining. Its membership did not represent the demographics of the area. Morale and interest were low, conference attendance dropping, leaders were being recycled, and the image of the organization was a passé one. The national organization was offering fewer services.
Issues/interventions: Step one was to increase their organizational esteem through celebrating their victories. This increased the level of their programming from the use of local presenters to persons of international repute. The culture was stagnant and as the programming improved new persons came. They begin to see possibilities and the culture started to melt. They reached out to diverse populations and included representatives from them in leadership — racial ethnic persons, professionals, and graduate students. I equipped the leaders to lead change, coached the senior leaders and worked with the board, paying special attention to resistance to change.
Results: A vibrant, multicultural organization was developed. Attendance at conferences doubled. New programs were added, including one to prepare highly educated immigrant women to become organizational leaders. The membership began to reflect the region, with younger women, professional women, graduate students, and even college women. Persons were elected as senior leaders who were fairly new to the organization and Hispanic, Korean, Middle Eastern, African American, Asian people are now part of the leadership. This regional organization is now recognized as the national model.
Background/Situation: A national award-winning magazine with a circulation of 25,000 wanted to develop an advisory committee.
Issues/Interventions: The first task was to set a purpose, working guidelines, and meld the committee. The committee consisted of journalists from other publications, elected representatives, and professional staff. I was asked to represent deployed staff in this new venture.
Results: Established a well-functioning advisory committee that could give critiques and input from a variety of perspectives. Several magazine issues the committee planned won national journalism awards for excellence.
Background/Situation: Thirteen women from South Africa were coming to the United States for a three-week training program to prepare them to start an AIDS care project. The Director requested help in planning the training.
Issues/Interventions: Cross-cultural understanding, conveying technical data and medical information, training in care techniques, identification and recruitment of leaders, safety issues for caregivers at home, and process and application time needed to be considered. I worked with the director to think through the areas to be covered and how to cover them, identify and recruit leaders, anticipate possible dilemmas and pitfalls.
Results: A three-week training program that prepared the women to return to South Africa and start an AIDS care project.
Background/Situation: A regional organization needed a new vision to propel it forward.
Issues/Interventions: The challenge was to create an image that was deep and versatile enough to be vital, achieve buy-in from the twenty-two components, and lead the organization to the next stage. It had to be compelling enough to challenge them to recast their organizational image and demand further change in how they presented themselves. It was important to involve as wide an array of the board as possible.
I worked with the senior leader to plan a visioning process that used all the senses and artistic mediums. This would get to the desires of the board for the future and evoke a deep enough vision that it would catch the imagination. Throughout the visioning process I coached the senior leader.
Results: The organization gained a clear, expansive vision that was able to lead it to the next level in its change process. Symbols were used to drive it home and make it memorable. The vision was simple and vital enough that it could be bought in by the components.