Planning for the Future | Sound Discipline

Posted by Zach Grossnickle — November 11, 2019

With the support of SVP and its volunteers, Sound Discipline has been growing steadily. Since beginning to collaborate with SVP, Sound Discipline has benefitted from support and guidance from many SVP volunteers in developing a more clearly defined business model, rethinking internal personnel, and a strong model for projecting income and costs. The result of the increased internal capacity has allowed Sound Discipline to significantly expand its services. It has also brought some challenges including maintaining adequate staffing, fundraising enough to keep up with the need, and shifting operations from a “smaller” business to one that is ready to scale.

The Sound Discipline board worked with SVP volunteers Alexa Carver and Roxanne Lyons, began the process of real-time strategic planning to explore “what it wanted to be” and then address challenges of scalability and sustainability, resulting, in early 2019 of a decision to pilot a model to significantly scale its work. The organization is now looking forward and is carefully taking steps toward the next phase of growth.

One of the significant improvements has been the growth of Sound Discipline’s board – both in size and improved practices. Jody McVittie, Sound Discipline’s executive director, and the SVP Lead Partner, Dave Thompson, recognized the opportunity and potential for strengthening the board to support the organization’s growth. Beginning in 2017, Dave supported the board by assessing and developing needed board infrastructure in steps, supporting committees with other SVP volunteers.

The process of strengthening the board infrastructure has had many positive outcomes. With the support of SVP Partner Rob Short, the governance committee was able to refresh the process for recruiting, interviewing, and eventually on-boarding three new board members. Rob and Dave’s enthusiasm and fresh insights made an immediate impact on many functions of Sound Discipline including a revision of the current year’s board recruitment approach, energy for fundraising, and careful review of finances.

During this process of internal improvement, the board leadership for Sound Discipline was stretched thin by the changes. In December of 2018, after careful discussions with Jody, the board president and other board members, Dave offered to join the board – and serve as board president, handing over the role of Lead Partner to another SVP volunteer, Tali Rausch.

The addition of new board members and  focus of the whole board on leadership resulted in energized the board. The small yet significant changes implemented by the board such as regular executive committee meetings, board agendas, and executive sessions improved the board’s performance.  Jody is excited that Sound Discipline is now in a place where the new processes and leadership have built a strong team pulling together. The internal capacity building, accomplished  in many small steps is a vital part of the foundation that will enable Sound Discipline to dramatically expand its capacity to serve schools.

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