Beyond words: How TGR Foundation defined its vision, mission and values in 2018
2018 has been a year with so many highlights for TGR Foundation. Our programs and events continued to perform extremely well, allowing us to reach milestones and achieve ambitious goals. As we look back, we’ll always remember our founder, Tiger Woods, completing his improbable, stunning comeback to the PGA TOUR with a stirring win at the TOUR Championship in September. Although we’ve had a lot to celebrate, I think our most important accomplishment in 2018 was codifying TGR Foundation’s mission, vision and values – the strategic framework that guides all that we do.
That framework is critical to the success and long-term viability of any organization. If carefully created and truly followed, it defines who you are, what you do and how you do it, which in turn ensures a sustainable enterprise that can succeed for generations.
To make our process meaningful and actionable, we spent a year on a collaborative approach that included all of our key TGRF stakeholders –employees, board of governors, donors and those we serve. We asked questions to understand what motivates staff to come to work each day, the needs and dreams of those we serve, as well as the opinions of the influencers and donors who help us achieve our goals. It was a true education and helped us learn where we are succeeding and what needs attention.
An organization’s vision is the “North Star” that keeps it aspirational and vital to society and stakeholders. It defines a higher purpose that goes beyond day-to-day tasks. Its mission clearly explains why it exists and how it can measure progress and success. Perhaps most importantly, an organization’s values are the guardrails that ensure everyone understands the culture and what is needed and expected to achieve. Each is a major building block for success and the words we choose must be believable and reside within the hearts and minds of all within the organization. So everyone on our team has an equal voice in this important work.
Through this process of discovery, several themes emerged and found their way into our framework.
Our vision is very direct. We are working to create a world where opportunity is universal and potential is limitless. That is the change we want to see over time. While this vision is surely ambitious, it gives us a goal for the future. We do know that opportunity is not universal for underserved youth. The system isn’t fair to them. Through our programs, we seek to inspire them to see their potential as unlimited and not restricted to what they currently know.
To contribute to this global vision, our mission is simple. We want to empower youth to pursue their passions through education. Our methods of hands-on, project-based education is about agency and empowerment – teaching students be their own best advocate. We want to inspire them through experience to find the things that excite them – their passions. This in turn will drive them to seek a bright future.
Having a clear vision and mission is critical to the success of our organization, but they are just words if we don’t create the culture and values that define the way we work to achieve our ambitious goals. We have focused on five key values which we believe are essential to a successful culture. Each of these values were defined in collaboration with our entire staff. They describe both how we work today as well as where we believe we can improve.
- Start with Passion – We come to work every day with a drive and determination to improve the lives of children and our communities. Our success is dependent on an unyielding enthusiasm for and dedication to our students, partners and each other.
- Own It – We hold ourselves and each other accountable, which involves an honest reflection of our actions and a commitment to finding ways to improve. Taking ownership and pride in our work cultivates a high sense of responsibility and integrity, therefore results.
- Create Synergy – We believe the sum of our combined efforts are greater than any individual contribution. We actively seek opportunities to collaborate and build mutually-beneficial partnerships aligned with our values to further our mission.
- Drive Change – We believe that success requires a forward-thinking and flexible approach. We must challenge the status quo by creating an environment where thoughtful risk-taking is encouraged and seen as an essential ingredient in not only reaching our goals but exceeding them. This is how we learn, grow and improve both ourselves and our work.
- Embrace Diversity – We believe that diversity is vital to the success and relevance of our organization. We are committed to delivering programs and experiences consistent with our belief in equity and inclusion for all.
Our challenge now is living our values and pursuing our mission and vision on a daily basis. Many organizations adopt similar frameworks but lose sight of their mission over time. When they do that, they inevitably fail. My job is to remind our team every day why we are here and what we need to do to succeed. With our new framework and the team at TGR Foundation, I have no doubt we’ll stay focused and move closer to achieving the vision we have defined.
Redefining what it means to be a champion