TKF embarked on a major strategic planning process over the course of four weeks in April 2008. The planning sessions were facilitated by Duane Trombly as a free resource donated by Duane and the San Diego Social Venture Partners (www.sdsvp.org). He did an excellent job. Thanks Duane and SDSVP.
Duane challenged the organization to review our Core Values, Vision and Mission. These three items are crucial to the foundation of any organization and without complete understanding, clarity and buy-in, organizations are crippled in the ability to succeed. We first reviewed our Vision and agreed that we were looking for a short memorable phrase that describes where the organization was headed in the long run. We were looking for a phrase that simply and elegantly captured the end game for TKF. Interestingly, we found our new Vision in TKF’s old Vision, but ended up only using its last six words.
A world free from youth violence
Next on our list was to review our Mission. When I joined TKF in 2000, the Mission was pretty much as it had been since the inception. Mission statements tell the organization and the world what we do. Our previous Mission statement was becoming more controversial as it started out with the words “Stopping Kids From Killing Kids.” For an organization dedicated to peace and forgiveness, these words were becoming more and more uncomfortable. Over the past year, TKF staff had adopted a tag line that was positive and related directly to our work with today’s youth. After much discussion, we found consensus in dropping the controversial first part of our old Mission statement and then combining the second half of the old Mission statement with the staff created tag line. It now reads as follows.
To break the cycle of youth violence by empowering kids, saving lives and teaching peace
I was especially proud of the discussion of Core Values. Core Values represent the fundamental behaviors that TKF expects of every single stakeholder, be it an employee, Board Member, partner or vendor. TKF adopted its first set of Core Values in 2003 during a challenging time in TKF’s history. In the past years, we have used these Core Values to provide us guidance in the face of difficult choices. What made me proud at this strategic planning meeting was that we all reaffirmed our commitment to them.
TKF’s Core Values:
Integrity – We behave with integrity.
Compassionate Confrontation – We believe in compassionate confrontation in a context of peace and respect.
Forgiveness – We forgive others and seek forgiveness.
With a reaffirmation of Core Values and newly created Vision and Mission statements, TKF is well positioned to continue our important work. I am confident that our organization foundation is as strong as it has ever been.