Cultivate a Startup Mindset in Your Legacy Organization
In an age where disruptive startups are transforming business, some legacy organizations are choosing to disrupt themselves. This mindset shift from tradition to disruption is helping organizations thrive in today’s rapid-fire business climate.
Dorri McWhorter, CEO of the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, has done just that for her social service organization dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women.
Her leadership in reinvention has grown the organization from $10 million to $25 million in only seven years. Her executive team reflects the innovative mindset she invokes: Senior staff have titles like Chief Reimagination Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, and Chief Paradigm Officer, and all bring a consulting philosophy to their work, where they seek to find novel approaches to challenges facing their clientele.
“A friend calls consultants business doctors,” McWhorter said. With her team of business doctors, McWhorter uses a heavy dose of fresh thinking to deliver value to constituencies that include operators of home-based childcare centers, sexual violence nurses, and women making career transitions.
Here are three strategies McWhorter uses when guiding her team.
Start with intention.
Our organization had been in decline, so we didn’t need to convince people to get on board about change.
As the organization grew, she recruited people interested in social enterprise and people with experience in turnaround situations.
The intention to rethink everything, from the business model to how meetings are organized, resulted in ways to make the organization more engaging at every level.
[Related: To be a Thought Leader, Start With Thoughts]
Innovate how to deliver value.
As Team YWCA sought to create value for its constituencies, one opportunity helped owner operators of home-based childcare centers to boost the services they provide.
With a growing interest in STEM, the YWCA Chicago held a Night at the Museum training event at the DuPage Children’s Museum. They expanded the initiative by selling YWCA-branded STEM kits with a curriculum that the childcare centers could use at home, and also have a book-mobile that visits childcare centers in three counties.
We learned that there is a real thirst for content and these offerings help small businesses thrive.
Live the brand.
McWhorter looks for opportunities to showcase her organization’s good work and communicate how the YWCA is empowering women. For Women’s Equality Day, YWCA launched a “drive to thrive” partnership with Uber to create jobs for women drivers. McWhorter drove an Uber herself, with proceeds going to the YWCA, and with the added benefit of her bringing the message of empowerment to riders.
She's also a TEDx speaker on top of it all. Her talk, "Doing Good Is Everybody’s Business," instills the idea that corporate social responsibility should be part of every business philosophy, not only non-profits like the one she leads.
McWhorter’s approach of setting the intention, innovating value, and bringing the brand to life can benefit any mature organization looking for a reboot.
Janine MacLachlan helps professionals amplify their leadership voices. She is a marketing strategist with a passion for a more innovative and creative approach at work and in life. She coaches at 1871, Chicago’s hub for digital startups, and serves on the Chicago leadership team of Ellevate Network.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Brand Strategist | Innovation Coach
MacLachlan Innovation Strategies
A brand strategist with passion for innovation and creativity, I seek to drive engagement, build brands and lead change in the arena of health and wellness, including oral health, heart health, nutrition. I bring a human-centered approach to the best solution to the right challenge: - Strategic visioning: brand building, strategy road map development - Storytelling, message and content strategy and curation for social and digital platforms - Audience insights, trends analysis, consumer journey, experience design - Change... Continue Reading
Start your free membership to continue reading and learning from people who want to help you succeed.Sign up for free