It started as a challenge. In June 2014, the FPPA Board of Directors approached our executive team with a simple question: How are you fulfilling your mission statement? In essence, the Board was looking for our staff to demonstrate how we were providing exceptional service to our members as effectively and efficiently as possible.
In accepting the Board’s challenge, FPPA’s executive team enlisted the help of a performance-tracking organization: Rocky Mountain Performance Excellence.
Rocky Mountain Performance Excellence (RMPEx) is a nonprofit corporation that helps companies to improve performance and gain perspective. Modeled after the famous Baldridge criteria for Performance Excellence, RMPEx serves organizations through an assessment and feedback process, and also honors high-performing companies with regional and national awards.
A rigourous, revealing application process
By entering the RMPEx program, we began into a lengthy, revealing organizational review process, including:
- Self-analysis: answering questions like how do we know our process is effective?
- Developing an RMPEx framework: we enlisted the help of a performance consultant to help define our processes
- Assembling a robust organizational profile: summarizing an entire organization into a five-page document is tough!
Completing this application process enabled us to make some immediate improvements. We revised our mission statement and core values to focus directly onto our members. We also clearly defined FPPA’s vision statement and core competencies; items we already had in practice, but had never officially documented. Just by completing these tasks, we’ve greatly improved our organization and defined our path forward.
Success after much effort
After reviewing our application, RMPEx honored FPPA with the High Plains Award, the first of four distinctions given by the organization (Generally, the awards are won in sequence). This inspired us to look towards a loftier goal: the RMPEx Timberline award, the second-highest of the organization’s honors. We soon began the application process, which was similar the High Plains procedure above, with a few additional steps, including:
- Refining and expanding FPPA’s organizational profile: putting RMPEx feedback into action
- RMPEx in-house evaluation: three days of on-site staff interviews and process observation
Months later, the verdict was recently revealed: Rocky Mountain Performance Excellence has named FPPA as a 2016 Timberline award recipient. The award will be presented in April, 2017.
While these awards look nice on our Board Room wall, what has been most valuable is RMPEx’s organizational feedback. Based on our award application, RMPEx provided actionable feedback items that have helped us to lay a framework for future success, not just for winning more awards, but also for improving our company to better serve you, our members.
FPPA is a mission-, vision- and values-driven organization. Going through this process has allowed us to better define who we are, and boosted our ability to provide exceptional service to our members. It has inspired us to continue improving all facets of our work. Now, over a year after the journey began, it’s clear that this simple Board of Directors challenge has become a focal point of everything we do.
Ryan Woodhouse is the Content and Publications Manager for the Fire & Police Pension Association of Colorado. When not creating content for FPPA, Ryan can be found fly fishing in the Colorado high country or shouting at the TV during University of Wisconsin football and basketball games.