Strategically, It’s All About the “Change Work”

Posted on June 30, 2021

Greg Miller

Gregory Miller
President & CEO Penn-Mar Human Services

It has been a busy summer at Penn-Mar, to say the least.

Our Gala committee pulled off a spectacular Evening Among the Stars on June 5th where guests were treated to an outdoor experience and at-home Party-in-Place gatherings in keeping with COVID restrictions. You can read all about the evening’s highlights and fundraising successes in this month’s Guest Blog.

It was fitting that the 29th Annual Gala & 40th Anniversary celebration was the backdrop to introduce our new visual brand and tagline – Live Courageously. Our Direct Support Professionals, Residential Supervisors, and Program Managers showed so much courage, dedication, creativity and resilience during the pandemic and to express our appreciation for their contributions, this year’s Annual Impact Award was presented in their honor.

All the while, behind the scenes, from March until May, our Strategic Planning Team was holding a series of meetings to identify key issues to be considered as Penn-Mar works toward fulfilling its mission and achieving its vision of the post-COVID future.

Guided by our brand promise that Penn-Mar Human Services is an organization driven by passion and guided by purpose, we developed a strategy that identified 12 priorities with these three requiring immediate action:

  1. Attracting and retaining team members committed to “building a legacy of good” for the entire Penn-Mar community.
  2. Advancing our commitment to a culture which supports people “on their own unique journey to achieve their personal best.”
  3. Developing and utilizing data-informed processes to select, sequence, and manage our priorities and resources.

As many of you know, our ability to attract and retain team members is essential for us to continue to provide quality, innovative services to people with disabilities. Our recent decision to increase wage scales for DSPs is an important piece of this pressing matter.

And in order for us to be successful, it is imperative that we nurture a person-centered culture for both the people we support and the team members providing the services.

Management guru Peter Druker famously said, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” So that’s where the data-informed processes come in.

We have a million things going on at any one time so we need to use data to find out what deserves our most pressing attention today, next year, and possibly the year after that. We will be creating internal processes for results-based accountability, relying on the data to inform everything we do. This decision-making innovation promises to be a game changer for our business.

It’s important to remember that our Strategic Plan is designed to serve the organization; we don’t serve the Plan. As we delve further into the implementation, we need to stay agile, to pivot when necessary, continually reviewing our progress and making adjustments along the way.

Because there are so many competing priorities, we have to be careful not to go a mile wide and an inch deep. It will be all about allocating resources to ensure the best use of everyone’s time based on the priorities of the organization.

In a nutshell, our Strategic Plan is about the change work, not the routine, every day work of turning on the lights and functioning for the day.

That’s how we’ll positively impact the future of Penn-Mar: We’ll put the necessary changes in place so that over time they become routine and we can move on to other objectives.

It will require an allocation of resources in terms of time and materials to ensure the strategies are living and breathing each day and ultimately wrapped into the culture – and success – of our organization.