Colorful Post-it notes on pale walls surrounded staff and board members who shifted in swivel chairs as they awaited the arrival of the meeting’s guest speaker. When The GO Fund was first introduced to Dr. Michael Whyte, it was because changes needed to be made.
Every organization needs to take their grand vision and put it into strategy. As ideas grew at The GO Fund, they desperately needed the boundaries of a plan to execute. So, for five hours, Dr. Whyte led the room in a discussion about how the organization would achieve its goals. “What drew me in the beginning was the confusion,” Whyte said. When he first came in as an outsider, he noticed it was difficult to define what the organization really does and that it needed more focus. “What’s fascinating with most organizations, is all this stuff makes perfect sense to the person who designed it … but you need someone from the outside to come in to show you … what needs to be fixed.”
The way to fix them? – A strategic plan. This is a written, foundational and ever-maturing list of achievements all team members hope to see accomplished within a certain allotted time. It is the blueprint of the company, the thing to look back on when ideas and dreams attempt to trump priorities.
To start, Dr. Whyte asked questions about communication styles and whether those in the room were task-oriented or preferred free-reign on projects. By the end of the morning, he honed on the opportunities for and threats to the entire company’s growth. He created a space for the team to discuss the varied hopes and dreams for success and siphoned it into a step-by-step plan. Whyte transformed the organization’s goals into a clean-cut dish, with bite-sized pieces and a clear idea of what the ingredients were.
“I think we get so busy that we don’t sit down and actually plan out what we need to be and what we need to do,” Whyte said. “We waste a lot of money, resources, and peoples’ lives when we don’t plan.”
Whyte’s sage guidance stems from a rich career in education and management. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and american politics from the United States Air Force Academy where he later went on to become a senior associate professor. His master’s degree and Ph.D. in Education are from the University of Southern California. He was hired to serve as Azusa Pacific University’s provost for eight years until 2010. Now, Dr. Whyte is provost emeritus for APU and teaches in their leadership department, MBA program, and in their doctoral studies.
His knowledge in organizational management and his personal experience as professor and provost were proved invaluable as he led The GO Fund team to their strategic plan. “One of my favorite sayings is, ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail,’” Whyte said, “And another, which is my favorite, ‘if you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time.’”
Now, The GO Fund’s aim is high and direction clear. Thanks to Dr. Whyte’s experiences and talents, The GO Fund team’s own abilities and growth are better utilized. The biggest target the team came away with: Approve 125 missionary units for educational loan repayment by 2020. Praise God for how he uses the members of his kingdom to build one another up so that his is the vision that prevails.
You can see The GO Fund’s entire strategic plan here!