We like to say, “We don’t get it right every day but we are willing to keep trying!” PCANY has been working to walk the walk for the past four years when it comes to TI practice. For us, this means being willing to look internally at how we are present daily for our own staff to ensure that what we do internally aligns with what we do externally with our partners. This has led us to think deeply and reflectively about the culture we want to nurture and grow. So much of our work is about the 6 Principles of TI Practice and the Protective Factors Framework and we were curious and excited to see if we could embrace these more completely into our organizational life.
What Did We Do?
The conversation began with our staff, all of them, about what it means to have a shared organizational culture and what that culture we strive to have was like. It took some time, but we arrived at a mutually agreed upon “Cultural Statement” that has now become a part of our internal policy and process. AND… Words are cool, BUT if they aren’t reflecting actual practice, they are empty.
We have used that Cultural Statement to make adjustments in how we actually move forward in the work. Performance evaluations have changed radically, as well as, policy and budget development, agenda building, enhancing supervisor responsibilities, BOD interactions, and the list continues to grow. Sometimes it means the administration (including the Executive Director) has to re-examine our work to see if it continuously aligns with our commitment. Sometimes we have to use our Principles to dig deep, roll up our sleeves and keep us on track. Always and every day we keep coming back to this as our measure of fidelity. “Does this decision (policy, practice, attitude, action) align with our culture and if not, how do we adjust?”
Do we get it right every day? Nope, but we have created the grace and space to keep on trying!
PCANY’s Trauma Responsive Cultural Statement:
“We are pursuing an organizational culture that emphasizes the core principles of the primary prevention work we espouse. We aim to build a strengths-based environment that offers safety, transparency, open collaboration, representative voice and respect for all people.”