GSK PULSE Volunteer Julia is applying her organizational research and development expertise to put a strategic edge on the agency dashboard for Save the Children. The PULSE Volunteer Partnership Program is an integral part of GSK's commitment to serving communities around the world by empowering high-performing employees to volunteer their professional expertise towards sustainable change in the areas of healthcare, education and the environment.
Beginning Work in Westport
It is rewarding to work with other professionals who are so committed to helping children in need. As Winston Churchill noted, 'We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.'
I am on a 3-month away-from-home assignment that has taken me from Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina to Westport, Connecticut to work with Save the Children. As I started my assignment, I was filled with a sense of adventure--open to learning with others through a collaborative process. I also appreciate the trust that Save the Children has extended to invite me into their organization and help lead work that can significantly improve decision-making capacity at the senior levels in the organization. This work has been well-received because it can ultimately help fulfill their mission to improve the quality of life for children in need. Save the Children has domestic and global programs in the areas of health, education, nutrition, and child rights.
As I move from corporate to non-profit work, I am face-to-face with hard truths that feel like a wakeup call every day. For example, in a meeting, a senior leader asked "do you know what the daily life of the 8-10 million children dying each year from preventable causes is like?"
I am struck by the loss that so many parents and grandparents must face every day. In balance, the numbers of children dying 30 years ago was three times higher. This understanding has fueled me to work for a greater good, to be a positive part of the change. I am confident that through continued collaboration, across non-profit and for-profit organizations, government agencies, and local communities, we can continue to bring a positive, sustainable change to many issues that face the children across the globe today.
The Voice of the Customers
I've begun a series of interviews to understand what's working and where improvements could be made. There are several stakeholder groups: the board, senior leaders, direct reports to senior leaders, and dashboard contacts. Though each stakeholder group brings a different perspective, they all have a vested interest in a creating a strategic dashboard that helps accelerate the reach and impact of programs for children in need.
Within the first few interviews, it is clear that any change to the dashboard will require the support of all the stakeholder groups. To get their support, I will need to understand their diverse values, concerns and aspirations.
In the past few weeks, I have felt a tidal wave of support at all levels for creating a strategic dashboard that gets to the heart of the matter. There is a willingness to own the dashboard, to use the metrics, to support organizational growth, and to align reward systems with the results.
In order to ensure that the dashboard is used as envisioned, there are three critical steps ahead. First, the stakeholders that provided feedback during interviews will receive a summary report. This will help clarify the current and desired state. Second, stakeholders will be asked to send questions to be used as input for a series of "Hot House" meeting. Finally, during the Hot House meetings, stakeholders will make final decisions about key performance metrics, uses of the dashboard, and avenues for communication of key messages.
My PULSE journey is only halfway over, yet it's already been a life-changing experience. Here're a few key things I learned--and hope to live by even after the assignment is over:
· Focus on what matters most and work collaboratively. Be willing to risk letting go of the rest. It's a good investment.
· Flourish so your family and work can flourish. Take time to appreciate what you have and take care of yourself. When your energy is positive and strong, growth will follow personally and professionally.
· Stay aware. While we did not create the issues we are trying to solve, be it famine in Africa or diseases across the world, we can have a mindset that enables us to be a positive force for change. When someone says "People are starving in Africa," you can choose to finish the sentence with a new story that is not about the food on your plate.