Virtuous Leadership and a Linear Service Model (LSM) Part 1: As goes the Executive so goes the organization.
In the process of thinking through how to convey the answers to the most pressing questions every PRC executive seems to share, something occurred to me; there is only one guarantee for success. I have seen many organizations face the difficult questions, make difficult decisions about how to answer those questions, and go on to greater effectiveness at reaching and serving women facing unplanned pregnancies, while others do not. At first glance the organization that ultimately succeeds at that worthiest of all goals versus the one that does appear the same. But after having observed and worked with both types of PRCs over the years, a key difference began to emerge between them. But that key difference was not manifesting as the usual suspects such as a specific type of operation. It was not that one offered a specific service like ultrasound technology and the other did not. Nor was it dependant on access to money. It was not even that the successful organizations had developed a strategic plan, because unsuccessful ones had too. What we began to notice was that while the organizations that were effective and gained greater effectiveness at reaching and serving women at risk for abortion were the ones that were committed to sticking to their strategic plan and creating systems of service to intentionally improve (LSM), there seemed to be an underlying driving force to that commitment. These organizations had the fortitude to do the really, really hard work of facing their brutal reality and creating a new reality through focused action. Incidentally it is difficult to have consistently focused activity without a strategic plan driving the development of the approaches that are taken to accomplish the mission. But the specifics of a strategic plan seem to be secondary.
Admittedly, I was a little surprised at the revelation that the specific details of a strategic plan were secondary to just simply having and religiously sticking to that plan. The end result is almost always some level of a step by step Linear Service Model. You must forgive my bias toward the value of the CompassCare LSM. However, once my proverbial eyes adjusted to the light of this new revelation we started asking ourselves: “What made some organizations able to pursue a strategic plan while others seemed content to let their strategic plan, if they had one, sit on the shelf?”
Over time we began to observe a common element in pregnancy centers that continued to get better and better at their mission. At the heart of the organizations that were able to purse a strategic plan and enjoy the resulting benefits of a more or less linear service process for reaching and serving the high risk abortion-minded woman was the activity of a particular person; the executive.
We began to realize that the activity of a PRC, over the course of time, reflected the behavior and expectations of the person who occupied the executive director position. In fact this realization became so obvious that we began using the following phrase in all our PRC Linear Service training: “As goes the executive so goes the organization.”
In part 2 we will discuss the role of personal virtue in executive leadership and what its practical implications are for developing and implementing an effective linear service model (LSM).
Check out the results of a pregnancy center in Omaha, NE after their executive, Michelle Sullivan, decided to implement a Linear Service Model by clicking here.