Recently, I had the opportunity to discuss how I’ve been able to use Rockefeller Habits to help miracles happen in Memphis.

Watch the video or read the transcript, but there are a few lessons and reflections here. One of them is how could Rockefeller Habits and a one-page strategic plan help your business, non-profit or for profit? How could this help a do-good organization you serve? Also, what are you doing to help the community?

Gil Bonwit:

As many of you know, you use the methodology of Rockefeller Habits Gazelles in your businesses. I used it in my businesses and realized it was effective, so we teamed up to bring it into the do-good world, as Bob Chapman said, the nonprofit world. Hundreds of organizations already use those tools. Our BHAGs had 1,000 nonprofits start using those tools with the thought is if they could each be three percent better, what kind of impact could we have on this world, and this is a gift we can give them. We’re really proud of two people, Mike Synk, who’s a Gazelles coach, and Sister Maureen, from Dorothy Day House. They’re going to tell you a little about some of the impact that these tools have already had in their organization.

Michael Synk:

Good morning. Recently, one of my friends asked me a question, “What’s the most important one-page strategic plan that you’ve ever worked on?” And my answer is the Dorothy Day House. What I want to ask the CEOs and the coaches today, rhetorically, is to think about what your answer to that same question is. Maybe more importantly, another way of asking it, how can you bring the Rockefeller Habits to the charities and for-good organizations that you have been asked to serve?

In 2011 my good friend, Sister Maureen, asked me to serve on the board of the Dorothy Day House and be its first chairman. I said yes, and Sister Maureen said, “Yes, we’ll do a one-page strategic plan.” So, I’m just gonna review some of the things that we came up with in our strategic plan. Our purpose, inspired by the gospels we enable homeless families to stay together and empower them to gain independence. I’m gonna go over the core values. The Poor Are Jesus, and what you do for them you do for Him. Personalism; we have  care and concern for each individual family. Hospitality and Trust in God; we are people taking care of people. Personal Accountability, and We’re a Home.

Then it was very easy to talk and determine what our core competencies or our core strengths were.

One of them is we have this covenant. It’s a simple covenant with house rules, and the rules are followed by all Dorothy Day House residents. Another strength is our volunteer web. This past year, over 400 volunteers served the Dorothy Day House and the families as we’ve helped rebuild their lives. Finally, our board is incredibly committed. All the members of our board are donors and volunteers before they join. One of our first ROCKS that we determined we had to work on was raising awareness about homeless families because homeless families are kind of hidden in each of your cities. The second ROCK was we had to get the message out about a special house in Memphis.


Sr. Maureen Griner:

So Dorothy Day House opened in 2006. It was five years later in 2011 when we decided it was time to get serious about the future. We asked Michael Synk to serve as our board chair. As a Gazelles coach, he said, “Let’s start with this strategic plan.” Anybody who’s done one of those one-page plans knows that the BHAG is a big part of that conversation.

Our BHAG in 2011 is in 2022 there will be a Dorothy Day Village with a capacity to help 20 families at a time. We started with that one house helping three families. Our BHAG was huge. We thought Mike was crazy.

Today in 2017, we’re in the midst of an expansion plan. We launched a $5 million capital campaign a year ago. At this moment, we’ve raised about 1.6 million, which seems absolutely impossible. We’re headed for the impossible. These are the houses that we’ll be purchasing. The first is the one we opened in 2006. We opened another in 2016, and the final three will be opening in 2018, 2019, and 2020. That will get us up to 3, 4, 7, 10, 13 families, and we’re still two years short of that BHAG. We’re going to make it for 20 families by 2022.

I think we’re really proof that the Rockefeller Habits work for nonprofits. So many times, nonprofits just live in today and don’t think about the future. Our work with Mike forced us to have a goal that was so far ahead, we couldn’t imagine. It really inspired us to move forward.

Miracles are happening in Memphis.

We encourage you to pass on those Rockefeller Habits and your work to nonprofits. They need those tools to move to the future.