One of the fundamental responsibilities of leadership is to assess challenges and opportunities for the agency. This planning process is often called SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. For Crittenton, that means trying to see ahead of the next curve in the road, to better meet the needs of our clients, and to stay relevant. Every three-four years, agency senior leadership submits recommendations for focus areas to the Board of Directors for their review. After all input is considered, these focus areas are approved as the agency’s Strategic Plan. Here are the focus areas adopted by the Board:
- Staff Development. This goes beyond the training we are required to do by our contracts or regulations. We want to engage new hires immediately, so they understand the agency’s mission, vision and values from the very start. We also need to re-energize ourselves to avoid burn out and compassion fatigue. Understanding the needs of four generations in our workforce also means looking at how we communicate, recognize, and celebrate.
- Adapt Programs that Can Be Delivered Across All Venues. From residential to community-based. As the state moves towards a comprehensive overhaul of child welfare, called the Continuum of Care Reform (CCR), it’s vital that we adapt to be successful in this new environment.
- Diversify Programs. To avoid over dependence on any one program or funding source, the agency must continue to stretch its boundaries and look for opportunities. This may mean acquiring agencies with compatible programs, pursuing contracts outside our service array, and expanding outside our regular geographic area. Staying open to possibilities is the key.
- Build Future Leaders. Let’s face it, some of us are getting older! Growing our own replacements is called succession planning. We also need to develop new leaders for growing programs and new services. This doesn’t always mean promotion, but it can also mean “stretch” assignments that give employees the chance to learn, develop new skills, and take ownership of projects.
- Protect and Promote Our Work Product. They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Still, it is of concern when other organizations copy our work. While there are things we gladly share with our colleagues, all work product of the agency is called “intellectual” property. It may not be copied or distributed without permission.
Joyce Capelle is the CEO of Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California (CSCF). In this role, she leads a social services agency of 500+ employees and manages a 24/7 operation with a service planning area that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties. Ms. Capelle is also highly involved in a number of civic engagements including serving on the Board of Directors for the California Alliance for Child and Family Services and former Chair of the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce.