SHPE Heroics: The Good and Bad of SHPE Culture

Question from a member:
Q: “If someone asks me, what’s is the SHPE way of doing things or what is the SHPE culture like… what do you think I should tell them?  If  you are a president, what’s the culture you would like to leave after you are done with your term?”

A: “The current “SHPE way” of doing things…. the current SHPE culture is inspirational but not stable. SHPE chapters are the place you go when you want to learn how to create programs, build a vision and execute toward that vision.  If you want to have an impact on the community, SHPE will enable you to do this using national programs or ones that you’ve created on your own.  These are all great things about SHPE.  The inspirational essence of these ideas must remain while we stabilize the organization.  But we must eliminate the unattractive portions of our culture.

HeroWe must eliminate the rollercoaster ways of execution we’ve come to expect in SHPE. Chapters develop a rhythm of doing things based on a few well meaning people aligned on a common purpose.  They develop programs for their chapter, and make connections outside and stabilize sponsors and supporters.  But this is all people dependent and when these people leave, a new group comes in and s ometimes these people are not capable of maintaining these efforts.  And when this happens we drop on the rollercoaster and the chapter suffers again until a new group of aligned individuals comes in.  This happens regionally and nationally and especially on the SHPE staff.  This is all a result of well meaning volunteers and no standardized programs.  This happens because the SHPE office focuses on executing rather than standardizing and there is nobody managing or coordinating their efforts.  This is also part of our SHPE culture.  SHPE is what i call a Hero Culture.  Where the benefit of many is up to the heroic efforts of a few.
The trick is to stabilize our efforts through standardization of efforts.  I do not mean to make every program identical in every chapter, but there are ways we can reduce the effects of people variability and rely more on processes.  We will always have great heroes but if we standardize our efforts… if we make it so anyone can execute the programs with the same milestones and results, we can have a bigger impact on the community without needing as many great heroes.

The future culture of SHPE i want to help build toward is one of shared strength.  Where chapters have available all the best programs and the most effective tactics that have worked for other successful chapters around the country.  The future culture of SHPE will be known for standardized execution where people will know what to expect when they come to a SHPE branded event.  In the future, potential members of SHPE will be attracted to the organization because they know they will always get the highest quality experience no matter what level of participation they choose to pursue.  In the future professionals will be able to come to SHPE to develop themselves personally and professionally and their own success will motivate them to give back to the community, rather than the other way around.

I don’t think we will get all the way to the future in one term.  But I will not rest until we do.  If I do not get elected, I will pursue this regardless.  Of course it will be easier to make this change as President, but I am going to be a part of SHPE until we have made the lasting change necessary for us to pursue our vision.”

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