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Jan 10, 2022

We Did Not Reach All Our Goals – Thank Goodness!

Sponsored Content provided by JC Lyle - Executive Director, Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry

I recently reviewed WARM’s 2021 Scoreboard with our leadership team. We track the number of families served, volunteer hours, donations, applications, wait time, and other key measurables. Our “final score” showed we met or exceeded most of the goals. We all celebrated!
 
We fell short of some of the goals by 6-8%. And I continued to celebrate.
 
I am honestly thrilled with scores that are in the 90’s instead of 100% or higher. If we were reaching or exceeding every goal every year, it would mean we aren’t challenging ourselves. WARM’s services are so desperately needed that we must set ambitious goals and take a few risks. One reason we use the term “scoreboard” is that we won’t win every game.
 
I believe that’s healthy. I am extremely proud of our team and what they give to their jobs every day. Obviously, the more people we help, the better. But from a numbers perspective, I would not change a thing.
 
You see, we united our staff by selecting goals that everyone can influence. When talented individuals function as a team committed to excellence, they are unstoppable.
 
For example, we set an outreach goal of receiving 300 applications. People on each team had ideas! The construction supervisors asked homeowners to encourage their neighbors to apply. 

(PHOTO CAPTION: A volunteer installs new siding on a home damaged by Hurricane Florence.)

The accounts payable assistant asked the contractors to share WARM with any of their customers that couldn’t afford the home repairs. The program team made important contacts in our new counties (Duplin and Onslow). The development team partnered with Cape Fear Realtors to put mailbox hangers on homes in disrepair across the region. Board members helped find sponsors to pay for ads and billboards. Drawing on the strengths of every employee, we received 320 applications in 2021!

Even the goals we didn’t reach brought us together and energized us. Our goal of reaching 200 households served was especially ambitious because it was 15 more than we’ve ever served in one year. So, we constantly looked for ways to be more efficient with time, transformed the way technology serves us, and helped each other when someone was off or especially busy.
 
We didn’t reach 200 households, but we matched our best previous year with 185 households served, including five Hurricane Florence recovery projects that exceeded $100,000. Compared to our average rebuild of $16,000, these were the most expensive WARM has ever completed!
 
We asked the full staff to reflect on 2021: how did WARM’s goals impact your approach to your work; should we select different performance measurements for 2022; and what do you want to see at WARM in 2022?
 
Per tradition, our full staff (19 people) decided on a word of the year to guide our company culture and articulate how we’d like to grow together. Our 2022 word is ADAPT.
 
We seek input from the full staff because it takes all of us to fulfill our goals. It is not only their opportunity to be heard, it is their responsibility to be heard. WARM needs input from every vantage point to be the best we can be for our homeowners, volunteers, donors, and each other.
 
Having said that, the final goals should take us out of our comfort zones. That is the role of our leadership team: to provide clarity and to push us all to do more than we ever knew we could do.
 
Our reaction to ambitious goals may include fear of failure. It’s not the failure that will take us down, it is the fear. Fear will convince us to play it safe so that at the end of the year we can say “yes, we succeeded” but if we set ambitious goals, believe in ourselves, and trust our teammates, we’ve already succeeded, right here in January!



JC Lyle has served as WARM’s Executive Director since January 2009. Under her leadership, WARM's annual revenue and productivity have more than quadrupled. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, Lyle worked at McKim & Creed on subdivision design, rezoning and permitting throughout coastal North Carolina. Lyle earned her Master of Business Administration from UNCW's Cameron School of Business and has presented workshops on affordable housing issues and nonprofit management at state-level conferences. Lyle serves on the Planning Commission for the City of Wilmington and the North Carolina Housing Partnership, the board that oversees the state's housing trust fund. In 2012, Lyle was named Wilma Magazine's first Woman to Watch in the Nonprofit Category. In 2014, she accepted WARM's Coastal Entrepreneur Award in the Nonprofit Category, given by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal and UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In 2018, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Cape Fear Chapter named her Outstanding Fundraiser of the Year.
 
 

 

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