New Year’s is the most magical of holidays. When you think about it, it’s simply the passing of another day. But as a species, humanity has turned it into this imaginary line of rebirth and new beginnings; a celebration of what we have accomplished and endured and of the promise the coming calendar of days holds.
As this New Year begins, we again cross that imaginary line of endings and new beginnings.
Each of us has a list of things we want to do bigger, do better, do more and do less, and each of those lists represents different compartments of our lives and how we relate to the different social groups around us. While many of us may not make formal resolutions, we all make silent promises to ourselves to not ignore the time passing and make more of each day in this new book that begins, starting with page one, on this crisp January morning.
As an Agency, and as a team, Goodwill is no different. So, let me take a few moments to share with you where we are as a team crossing that imaginary line of endings and new beginnings.
- 2016 was a formative year. Where 2014 and 2015 were about getting our balance, and gaining strength, 2016 was about beginning some serious change.
- We did that by gathering data – employee engagement surveys, community perception studies and ongoing retail production re-evaluations, allowed us to understand where we are internally and externally and where our opportunities are to affect the most good with change initiatives.
- We did that by hiring a class of talented people to run our retail stores, districts and division that, as a whole, has unprecedented potential.
- We did that by hiring an amazing group of leaders for Mission Services whose enthusiasm about our programmatic possibilities shines so bright it could power Kansas City for a week.
So, if 2016 was a formative year, we have set up 2017 to be a transformative year. Goodwill has long been a sleeping giant in our market – in retail and in mission services – and it is time for the giant to awaken. It is not as though when we close the book on 2017 our transformation will be complete, but I have every confidence that the pieces are coming together is such a way that there will be a significant difference in the look and feel of our Agency by the time another calendar winds down. What does 2017 promise?
• The launch of improved communication forums to allow messages and information to pass throughout teams, between teams and throughout the Agency in a seamless, direct and fun fashion. This will increase our ability to live our values through leading, growing, partnering and innovating as One Agency.
• Improvements in some of our most critical systems, including performance management and professional development for people at all levels of the organization.
• Completing the Community Needs Assessment to identify how to leverage our investment in our communities to help the most people in the most lasting fashion.
• Continuing upgrades to our facilities, including remodels and additions.
• Continued improvement in our equipment, to make work more ergonomically friendly as well as more efficient.
• Continuing our progress on reducing our environmental footprint.
This is just the splashy stuff. There are dozens of little things that will complement this list as 2017 unfolds. And we are perfectly positioned to meet or exceed most of our goals this year. As a team, we are hitting our stride. Our culture is strengthening daily and each one of these improvements will only speed our growth along the path to success.
So, as I draw this to a close, let me thank each and every team member, donor, partner, customer, and client of the Goodwill family for the hustle and heart you put into the success of our mission every day.
Every step, every breath goes directly back into our regional community, and lays the groundwork for us to expand programs both in scope and reach. 2016 was a bumpy but ultimately solid year given all we faced – and it took all of us to make that the story of 2016.
As we step into 2017, I know that each of you will continue to dig deep for Goodwill and our mission so that we can make this the breakout year we need to maximize our value, individually, as a team and as a catalyst for change in the region.
365 days – and each one is a blank page. Goodwill knows what will be written on its pages… what will you write on yours?
Happy New Year, everyone!
Stefany A. Williams, CPA, MBA