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Westminster-Thurber Community

Strategies for Planning

The Eden Vision for Westminster-Thurber

We envision a community of neighborhoods where people live and work to fulfill their highest purpose and potential every day of their life. We support one another in our neighborhoods to live lives where we:
Engage in meaningful and loving relationships
Pursue life interests and goals
Learn and grow as people
Find spiritual fulfillment
Live with excitement
Contribute to the common good of the community

The Eden Vision Statement for Westminster-Thurber. After it was introduced, employees signed a large poster of the statement indicating their support (the poster is framed and on display). New employees also sign a similar poster of the statement after "World Makers' orientation (to be discussed in "Organizational Systems Transformations").  

In 2004, The Westminster-Thurber Leadership Team set out to change the work environment for those who live and work at Westminster-Thurber. The team wanted to take the environment from a medical, task driven model to a person-directed, social model. It started with self-reflection, identifying potential areas of individual growth and collective team building. Resources were supplied (books, group meetings, professional speakers, retreats, etc.) to grow the capabilities and skills of each member of the Leadership Team. The team decided to focus their educational efforts toward moving from an autocratic management style to a servant leadership style. The group met often to study books such as "Good to Great," "The Fred Factor," "The Secret," and "Crucial Conversations," to develop their own leadership style. The team saw tremendous growth in each person as they moved from manager to coach, mentor and facilitator. The team has grown in solid, professional relationships and accountability to each other.

The decision as a team to move away from autocratic managements styles towards a more servant leadership style came in spring of 2004. Westminster worked for over two years to instill the needed changes in leaders as well as the middle line supervisors and then assessed outcomes by providing a survey to employees to measure the culture change initiative in spring of 2006. Westminster felt that the changes weren't deep enough and decided to develop the World Makers curriculum to totally immerse all 270 employees across the community to establish a firmer foundation.

Tips for early and ongoing planning:

  • Start with leadership reflection by gathering the leadership team and focusing on the issues; 
  • Expect each member of the leadership team to become coaches and mentors and became accountable to each other in shedding the traditional manager role; 
  • Learn and discuss models of leadership. The Westminster team discussed the content of such books as "The Secret," "The Fred Factor," "Good to Great," "Crucial Conversations," "The 8th Habit," and "What Are Older People For?"; 
  • Develop a curriculum that reinforces the desired culture and train all existing employees and new employees at orientation; 
  • Incorporate learning circles with all employees and elders to discuss problems and develop meaningful relationships with each other; 
  • Survey employees to determine grasp and acceptance of culture change principles. Don't be afraid to go "back to the drawing board" if results are inconclusive.
  • Stay the course! "I'm not going to paint a rosy picture and say that it's easy. It takes time, but it is really worth it when it all comes together." - Westminster staff member.

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