Calendar Year 2014 Achievement Report

Calendar Year 2014 Achievement Report

2014 was a historic year of vision development and pursuit for Texoma Council of Governments. The new vision, Better Leaders Building Better Lives, is driving excellence and achievement at every level of the organization. Each TCOG employee is committed to making life better for the people of Texoma, and from the executive team, through management, on to front-line staff, each employee knows our vision, believes in it, and works daily to pursue and achieve it. We are all committed to being better leaders, training better leaders, and supporting better leaders because we know that’s how we achieve meaningful and sustainable improvements in quality of life in Texoma.

Susan Thomas, PhD, Executive Director

TCOG is laser focused on leadership and on doing government differently by leading according to the principles of TCOG’s leadership foundation. Our organization plays a significant role in the delivery of many state and federal programs in the tri-county area, but we see ourselves as more than government workers or bureaucrats; we see ourselves as way-finders, game changers, and even life savers. Whether we are improving a citizen’s quality of life directly by providing housing, health, nutrition, energy, or information & referral services or whether we are indirectly advancing quality of life for the members of our communities by providing our cities and counties with public safety, municipal solid waste, and community/economic development planning services, TCOG has established itself as an effective, efficient, and relevant organization in this region built on a solid foundation of leadership.

One of the keys to our success as an organization is the simple fact that every TCOG employee is on the same page and is working toward the same overall organizational goals and objectives. Each employee participates in the planning and development of the TCOG Annual Strategic Plan; their ideas are found throughout the document. Our plans are not top‐down, command‐control plans but rather are the manifestation of what matters most to our employees. We set our goals high, intentionally challenging ourselves to achieve what may seem out of reach. In 2014, we did not set goals to guarantee achievement; we set goals to guarantee the pursuit and achievement of excellence, and we will maintain those goals until the desired results are attained.

Our six goals for 2014 and the results and outcomes associated with each are outlined below.

2014 Strategic Plan Results

Broaden Awareness of TCOG

Broaden awareness of TCOG services and the value we bring to the region by providing the following deliverables to specified stakeholder groups:

Employees
Each program will provide 4 program presentations to other TCOG programs outside of their departments.
Members
Each program will provide 2 program presentations to city council or county commission meetings.
Clients
Each program will develop a project/tactic for increasing their clients’ awareness of other TCOG programs.
Partner Agencies
Each program will provide 2 program presentations to partner agencies.
News Media
Each program will issue two news releases related to program success stories.
Social Media
Each program will provide Sean monthly Facebook/Twitter posts about program news, events, or success stories.
RESULTS & OUTCOMES

95% completion rate for program objectives in broadening awareness. The most significant outcome of our broadening awareness efforts was improved relationships and increased communication between COG program staff and member jurisdictions/partner agencies which will lead to more (and potentially better) collaboration and service delivery and ultimately serve to improve quality of life in Texoma.

Effective Delivery and Scheduling of Services

Identify and implement new ways to integrate technology into operations of all programs that create measureable improvements in efficiency and effectiveness.

RESULTS & OUTCOMES

92% completion rate for program objectives in effective delivery and scheduling of services. Programs focused on increasing/improving the use of technology to improve program effectiveness including program specific software development; reducing paper copies and increasing digital records storage; utilizing better software; providing better tools to members; creating new forms or tools to increase program management effectiveness such as a digital budget amendment request form. The more effective and efficient our programs are, the more we are able to serve. Daily we face the reality that the demand for our services outpaces the resources available to meet that demand. These improvements in effective delivery and scheduling of services will enable us to stretch those limited resources further and serve more citizens.

Sustainable Funding

Generate 7.5% of program budgets (organization-wide) in non-governmental funding.

RESULTS & OUTCOMES

72% completion rate for program objectives in sustainable funding. Finding ways to increase program revenue to provide for more sustainable funding continues to prove difficult for many TCOG programs. By creating a more sustainable funding stream for our programs, we increase stability in the types and levels of services we provide member jurisdictions and citizens and increase the positive impact on quality of life.

Team Building

Provide interdepartmental opportunities for employees to work together as a cohesive unit to strengthen professional relationships, increase collaboration, improve communication, recognize individual diversity and promote mutual respect among all employees as measured by achieving an overall rating of 4.5 on team-building questions on the Year-End SAS.

RESULTS & OUTCOMES

96% completion rate for program objectives in team building. The overall average on team building questions on the Year-End SAS was 4.3, up slightly from 4.2 last year. While we have not hit our 4.5 target on the teambuilding questions on the Year-End SAS, the team building objectives continue to prove valuable with 100% of all employees indicating they believe the teambuilding exercises led to measureable improvements for their teams in 2014.

Training and Education

Continue to provide meaningful and useful training and education opportunities for staff development throughout the year as measured by (1) achieving a 4.5 overall rating on both the number of training opportunities provided and the effectiveness of the trainings from employees on the Year-End SAS and (2) each TCOG employee attending or participating in two organization, program, or personal development trainings (monthly manager training and regular/required program training does not count toward this goal).

RESULTS & OUTCOMES

97% completion rate for program objectives in training and education. While the training and education scores on the Year-End SAS increased from an overall rating of 3.685 to 3.8, we’re still a good distance from our target of 4.5. Professional Development and training will be a focus for 2015, and managers have been instructed to use the annual evaluation tool to outline development and training goals for each employee. 92% of employees completed 2 or more trainings, and 80% of employees felt these trainings had measureable improvement on their programs. With the new vision, Better Leaders Building Better Lives, staff training, education, and development is more critical than ever. The leadership vision starts at TCOG, and to pursue and achieve that vision, we will have to provide ample leadership/staff development opportunities.

Wellness

Promote employee health and wellness over the next 12 months in order to improve employee quality of life as measured by (1) achieving an overall rating of 4.5 on wellness questions on the Year-End SAS; (2) decreasing use of sick leave as measured by sick leave use records; and (3) decreasing the amount of health insurance claims as measured by an additional 5% reduction in the average annual group loss ratio.

RESULTS & OUTCOMES

95% completion rate for program objectives in wellness. We have set our sights very high with our target of 4.5 overall response rate on wellness questions on the Year-End SAS, and we will continue to strive to achieve that. In 2014 we saw tremendous movement in how our employees rated their overall health with that average response jumping from 3.89 to 4.3, and we saw positive movement in the way employees rate their own quality of life. Interestingly, while we saw an increase in the use of sick leave in 2014, our group loss ratio was down from 105.76% to 72.9%, a decrease of 31%. Similar to training and education, wellness is directly linked to our ability to achieve our vision. If TCOG employees don’t feel well, experience regular sickness, and don’t feel healthy overall, they will not make very good leaders, and if TCOG employees do not feel that they themselves experience a high quality of life, how will they be able to effectively improve quality of life for others?

What’s Ahead in 2015?

Strategic thinking and strategic planning has become part of the TCOG vernacular, employees are embracing change, and we are all able to see the tangible and intangible benefits of planning our work and working our plan rather than managing crisis-to-crisis. One thing we have learned from the last three years of planning is that it is imperative to stick with particular goals until they are achieved. While we witnessed tremendous success and accomplishments in 2014 at every level of the organization, TCOG employees believe we still have progress to make on some of the 2014 goals. Based on employee input and feedback during the planning process, the 2015 Goals include:

Broadening Awareness

Broaden awareness of TCOG services and the value we bring to the region by providing the following deliverables to specified stakeholder groups:

Employees
In June and December (if necessary) program managers will participate in a program orientation day (half-day) for new employees.
Members
Each program will provide 2 program presentations to city council or county commission meetings (selected members must be approved by ELT. Sign-up sheet will be placed on SharePoint).
Clients
Each program will develop a project/tactic for continuing to improve their clients’ awareness of other TCOG programs.
Partner Agencies
Each program will provide 2 program presentations to partner agencies (selected agencies must be approved by ELT. Sign-up sheet will be placed on SharePoint).
News Media
Each program will issue two news releases related to program success stories (sign-up sheet will be placed on SharePoint).
Social Media
Each program will provide Sean monthly Facebook/Twitter posts about program news, events, or success stories.
Texoma Community Conversations
We will conduct 4 (quarterly) special events to broaden awareness of critical regional policy issues. Events will engage staff and appropriate regional partners to create plans and projects for improving selected indicators and affecting positive change.

  1. Generational Dynamics
  2. Children’s Health and Poverty in Texoma
  3. Veterans Community Reintegration
  4. Affordable Housing

Sustainable Funding

Generate 7.5% of program budgets (organization-wide) in non-governmental funding.

Increase Collaboration and Program/Organizational Efficacy

TCOG Program Managers will build client lifecycle models for four client types to (1) identify and document gaps in the social service system in Texoma; (2) make recommendations to resolve gaps internally, externally or through collaborations with partners; and (3) implement solutions to fill identified gaps. The lifecycle models will help staff to determine when and why clients come to TCOG for assistance and when and why we are unable to serve clients and will increase our ability to improve quality of life and increase economic security and self-sufficiency for vulnerable populations including children, veterans, elderly, and disabled Texomans.

  1. Identify standard/typical needs, define which needs TCOG is able to meet, and identify gaps in services.
  2. Determine what gaps we can address immediately and what gaps, with additional resources or program/policy changes, we can address over time (include necessary partner agency engagement).
  3. Problem-solve and implement change for “low hanging fruit”; create plans for more intractable problems.
  4. Roles & Responsibilities
    1. ELT: Improve knowledge and understanding of relevant public policy research to guide solution development. Key research areas include:

      1. Generational dependence on social support programs
      2. Evidence based program evaluation
      3. Best Management Practices (BMPs) for quality of life based social service programs
    2. Program Managers: Build Lifecycle Models
    3. Frontline Staff: Managers will engage staff in meaningful data collection and train staff on the “5 Whys” method to help get to “root cause”.

      Example: The vehicle will not start. (the problem)

      1. Why? – The battery is dead. (first why)
      2. Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (second why)
      3. Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (third why)
      4. Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (fourth why)
      5. Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (fifth why, a root cause)

Expand Training

Continue to provide meaningful and useful training and education opportunities for staff development throughout the year as measured by (1) achieving a 4.5 overall rating on both the number of training opportunities provided and the effectiveness of the trainings from employees on the Year-End SAS.

  1. Each TCOG employee attending or participating in two organization, program, or personal development trainings (monthly manager training and regular/required program training does not count toward this goal).
  2. ELT will create and implement at least two new professional development/education opportunities for TCOG membership and partner agencies.

Create and Improve “Sense of Us”

TCOG will implement various activities designed to improve how we as individuals, programs, and departments define and understand our role in TCOG’s vision: better leaders building better lives. Success will be measured by achieving an overall rating of 4.5 on team synergy and cohesiveness questions on the Year-End SAS.

  1. Employee Appreciation Event – Family Picnic
  2. Quarterly Better Leader Award for Program Managers
    1. How does this person build quality of life through their program(s) and what impact are they already making?
    2. What is his/her game plan for becoming a better leader (for his/her program, the organization, region, state, and/or nation)?
    3. How will his/her personal leadership development increase the quality of life they build through their programs?
    4. How will this work create better leaders in our communities, region, state, and/or nation?
  3. Weekly employee spotlights – will include information to get to know the employee and give the employee an opportunity to show how they are pursuing the vision.