Embracing Change in Times of Uncertainty
Pivoting Your Organization in Response to COVID-19
BuildStrong Academy of Colorado wanted to find quick solutions for the rapidly changing needs of their students and graduates when COVID-19 broke out. Before taking any action, BuildStrong Academy wanted to make sure their decisions were grounded in the needs of their students and graduates, and not assumptions of the organization.
BuildStrong Academy launched ResultsLab’s Rapid Needs Assessment, which enabled their organization to gather feedback from their students and graduates, and quickly turn that data into actionable, repsonsive solutions.
RESPONDING TO NEWLY EMERGING NEEDS
BuildStrong Academy of Colorado is an industry-driven academy created to solve the construction industry’s need for skilled workers and to support individuals in creating a meaningful career. Through their hands-on, innovative and collaborative approach, they have been helping build a talent-rich construction workforce.
When COVID-19 broke out in Colorado in early March, there was an abrupt shock and mad scramble to figure out how to continue to run as an organization and maintain their programs. Colorado Homebuilding Academy couldn’t deliver their regular programs, which are very hands-on, providing the classroom space, equipment and content for students to apply this learning while building. How do you teach someone to use a miter saw online? How do you host a construction program online without tools?
Additionally, new needs were emerging within the community they served. The booming construction industry suddenly was faced with a new reality. Job issues immediately became apparent, but other concerns around housing, access to basic supplies, and financial concerns were being expressed by the academy’s students and graduates as well.
BuildStrong Academy wanted to find solutions for their students and graduates, but they didn’t want to build these solutions based off of what the organization believed would solve their needs. They wanted a way to get feedback from them before making any critical decisions.
LEVERAGING DATA AND EMBRACING CHANGE
This is when the Rapid Needs Assessment became critical for BuildStrong Academy. Having an assessment tool that was already built, and ready to be distributed allowed them to quickly collect data on the needs of their community. “This was our guidepost and made the work so much easier,” says Roberto Hernández, former Systems and Operations Manager.
The real success was BuildStrong Academy’s ability to then use this data and turn it into action. Their team used the Rapid Solutions Design matrix to guide their discussion around what solutions were feasible and had high impact, and focus their efforts on the top three to four issues. For example, one of the solutions that came out of this exercise was starting to offer one-on-one virtual tutoring connects between their students and grads to further advance their skills and build a network of support. BuildStrong Academy also had their first virtual job fair, which was another solution they came up with and plan to continue hosting.
Roberto shared how it was easy to brainstorm, but the Rapid Solutions Design tool helped put the ideas into a workable format. Testimonials or quotes wouldn’t have been enough influence for the team to mobilize. The data was a critical piece for the organization to be able to pivot in response to their community’s needs. In his words, “you’re just compelled to act.”
BuildStrong Academy, who graciously shared their experience, also shared some advice on how others can mobilize their organizations to pivot.
HOW TO MOBILIZE YOUR TEAM TO PIVOT
- Create a task force. It doesn’t have to be a large group, even two or three people will work, but having other advocates for the project and bringing together multiple perspectives enhance the chances for success.
- Gather data. Listen to your community and don’t make decisions based on your beliefs or assumptions. Create an assessment tool your organization can quickly leverage. When distributing the tool for responses, if you can, use SMS. If you start with email, be sure to follow-up with a text.
- Turn data into action. Brainstorm ideas and categorize them using the Rapid Solutions Design. To start, focus your efforts on the highest feasible and highest impact solutions.
- Let participants know you heard them and communicate that you are acting on it. Ensure they know what actions you are taking so they know their input is being.
If you are looking for more resources to help make data-informed decisions to keep your organization moving forward, let’s connect.