Matt Huckabay, Executive Director of The Center for Violence-Free Relationships, faced a dilemma. A baby, teen mother, grandmother, and great grandmother entered the organization seeking services, all of them having been victims of domestic abuse. He asked himself, “would this baby be the fourth generation to be affected by violence?”
He also realized there was no way of knowing how the Center failed to end the cycle of violence over generations in the past. But, luckily for the family needing service delivery, he was already looking towards the future. Huckabay had realized active programs needed to be improved so that the chances for instances of violence would be greatly reduced once a client completed the program.
The Center leadership reevaluated what the organization should be doing and, more importantly, what it should stop doing to ensure that clients receive the best care possible. The process involved actively seeking and acting upon personal and organizational performance feedback. This led to difficult, but necessary, decisions.
The first step was to rally the staff and board and clarify the mission. The Center couldn’t be everything to everyone it served. This approach simply did not allow them to invest sufficient resources in producing lasting change for families. The new mission became ‘to end the inter-generational transmission of violence’. In order to shift to a more refined mission, the Center realized they need to do three things:
• End the transmission of violence between generations by working with both children and adults
• Produce outcomes for the newly defined target populations by eliminating excess programs and adding new mission-critical programs
• Provide more effective services by having the executive team and board recruit, develop, engage, and retain the talent necessary to deliver on the Center’s new mission
These transformational steps required a concerted effort across the organization, but once in place they revolutionized how the Center approached victims’ services by adhering to the Performance Imperative.
The Performance Imperative focuses on what nonprofits can do to transform themselves into high-performing organizations by upholding seven pillars of excellence. With each pillar, the high-performing organizations and their leadership teams are tasked with looking at their operations as a whole and seeing where improvements can be made internally for better external impact.
You can learn more about how the Center for Violence-Free Relationships transformed their organization in our Pillar One webinar. This webinar features the Center’s leadership team and expands on how they embraced Pillar One, Courageous, Adaptive Executive and Board Leadership, to succeed. This webinar covers how the Center’s leadership:
• Changed the board’s role from advisory to strong, assertive governance and stewardship
• Clarified their organization’s mission and their own roles
• Recruited and retained the talent and external partners necessary to achieve the mission
• Passionately pushed the organization to get better at meeting its mission
• Sought and acted on feedback on their own performance