Helping Heifer Unite Teams
Arkansas-based Heifer International is changing lives – one cow at a time. Working in 57 countries, Heifer International provides livestock and training to improve lives. Heifer gives those in need an animal, which provides direct benefits such as milk, eggs, wool and fertilizer. Recipients “pass on the gift” of offspring of their cows, goats and other livestock to others.
In this global, nonprofit environment, leaders depend on all staff working together cohesively to maximize their efforts on behalf of their mission to rid the world of hunger. But when Heifer reorganized, a senior vice president was tasked with uniting highly diverse departments – with members from all over the world – to subscribe to a single mission and integrate their processes like never before.
Because of our experience in global environments, Heifer engaged us to manage a 2.5 day strategy retreat for 45 Heifer leaders around the world to help plan how to achieve their goals. Based on surveys and one-on-one interviews with organizational leaders, we determined the appropriate objectives for the event, designed the content and approach, and facilitated the event. The solution was to develop of strong purpose statement that all could support, while connect each member personally with the statement and each other for sustainable cooperation.
At the start, some of the 45 attendees barely knew each other due to their disparate functions. They worked across diverse areas such as global initiatives, global programs and education. By the time they left, the design of the event allowed for a new, shared experience that gave each member a platform to join each other as part of a unified team. In addition, elements were incorporated to allow them to resolve past issues, reach consensus on their purpose, build better relationships between departments, and work together more efficiently moving forward. Today, the division remains solidly behind the purpose it defined in those two days.