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Posted April 3, 2013

When Andrew Proctor was hired as Executive Director of Literary Arts in Portland, Oregon, in 2009 he found an organization somewhat adrift. While financially stable, there was a lack of understanding and agreement about what the organization actually was. The board was ready for change but how could the organization move forward without really knowing where it stood?

Proctor engaged the entire staff in writing a 78-page assessment, including the organization’s programmatic and financial history, the national landscape and changes in the publishing industry overall. They then took the assessment around to various stakeholders to get feedback. The resulting debate and discussion has lead to a revitalization for Literary Arts. They have worked to integrate all of their programming and have moved from a model of passive participation to one of active participation. This has lead to increases in donations and subscriptions and has changed the way they are perceived in the community.

Learning objectives:

To show how to build organizational intuition through a process of discovery and debate around an organization’s purpose and by refocusing attention outside rather than inside the organization

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