The Plan for Leveraging Our Strengths to Get Even Stronger - Penn-Mar

The Plan for Leveraging Our Strengths to Get Even Stronger

Posted on May 29, 2024

By Gregory T. Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer, Penn-Mar Human Services | Chief Executive Officer, Penn-Mar Foundation

Jackie Stevens, our Chief Operating Officer, always reminds us that Penn-Mar is good at figuring things out. Innovation is one of our Core Values and we consistently tap that spirit to help us solve problems and envision what we can do differently in the future.

When I look back over the last few years, I see a lot of big accomplishments that created big changes at Penn-Mar.

We closed our Sheltered Workshop.

Embraced an “Employment First” mentality.

Launched our Consulting Division.

And created a Leadership Development Program to help our team thrive.

All these initiatives were borne out of Strategic Planning aligned with our Mission to support people to live courageously in pursuit of their best life.

Strategic Planning may not seem like the most exciting thing, but it’s important to acknowledge that, historically, it has been one of the drivers in moving our organization forward. For the past 25 years, these plans have been an organizational discipline that has made us who we are today.

Everything we do around our strategic activities is grounded in the fact that Mission is King. We don’t allow ourselves to get distracted by fads or “shiny objects” that can fog up the lens of our true culture.

We have not engaged in formal strategic planning since pre-COVID days because our existing plan was centered around retention and recruitment. As you all know, that became even more relevant as the pandemic restrictions and challenges went from months to years. We had to put all the emphasis on protecting the people with disabilities we support and our team.

But one of the side benefits of COVID was that we made good financial decisions during those years that positioned us to be a much stronger organization as we moved more strategically in a future direction.

Our new Strategic Plan will be different in that it will be a lot more about Who We Are vs. What We Do. It will focus on change activity that will position Penn-Mar to grow and evolve over the next few years.

We are working with Al Weber, a consultant with Tweed-Weber-Danks, Inc., to develop our Plan. He knows and understands Penn-Mar and continually pushes us to envision where we see our future.

Our initial Strategic Planning Group, consisting of our leadership team and several of our directors, met for the first time on April 29th. As the Plan evolves and we start to put more form to it, we will build out the team to have the whole of the organization well represented to begin creating objectives and assigning levels of responsibility to move the Plan forward. It is gratifying to be looking at our organization through the lens of what we’re good at that we want to be great at! It isn’t about what’s broken and needs to be fixed because frankly, not much is broken here.

What often frustrates me is seeing things we do well that we could be doing better. Mediocrity and the status quo are the ultimate enemy. We all like being in our comfort zone but staying there rarely changes anyone’s life in a dynamic way.

And that’s the piece of the Strategic Plan that I’m most excited about: Developing the process for leveraging our strengths to get even stronger. Stay tuned…!

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