(scroll down to read Executive Summary)
If you have been an active part of 4Tucson, you know that we have had some remarkable successes across the city in the last several years. God continues to work through many Christians throughout Tucson.
Recently, we have had some staff changes that have caused some of our partners to question if 4Tucson will be able to survive.
The Board of Directors took that question seriously by listening to the assessment of an outside consultant, TJ Addington, who was invited to evaluate our internal structures and make his recommendations to the Board. The consultant was given two objectives:
Objective 1: Create a highly effective and collaborative organization.
Objective 2: Identify and help us address other organizational issues identified during the consultation process.
Mr. Addington interviewed all of the staff members, both current and those who have resigned. He interviewed each member of the Board of Directors and some past Board members. He interviewed our volunteers and many of the city leaders who have been most involved with 4Tucson. Mr. Addington’s Executive Summary of his findings is the second half of this communication.
After hearing the consultant’s findings and discussing various options the Board of Directors unanimously recommended that Mark remain as CEO of 4Tucson; and, as soon as is practical, he hire a Chief Operations Officer (COO). The Board is also retaining the services of TJ Addington to work with the CEO and COO and staff to help ensure that 4Tucson is able to move forward, building on the successes we have already seen.
I am looking forward to personally working with the consultant. Proverbs 12:15 says, The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise. Like most Christians, I, too, want to be wise. Sometimes it takes counsel from another to see our blind spots. We all need someone to work with us to overcome our faults. I believe I have important lessons to learn in this next season of my life. I am humbled that the Board supports me personally and the direction I believe God wants to lead 4Tucson.
It is important for you also to know that the Board and I believe that with the changes we are making, 4Tucson will not just survive, but go on to the next level in our quest for biblical city transformation.
Thank you for your faithfulness to pray for 4Tucson. Thank you for your continued support. I believe the best is yet to come.
Analysis of 4Tucson by Addington Consulting
November 11, 2018
It was my privilege to examine the current state of 4Tucson and to make recommendations to the board in light of my findings. This process was initiated because of conflict between senior team members, four of whom have resigned, and Mark Harris, the CEO. In addition to this conflict, I examined the health of the organization and my recommendations reflect this comprehensive look at the ministry. I personally interviewed all staff including those who had recently resigned, the CEO, board members, some past board members and key constituents. Based on this due diligence and many years of working with non-profit organizations I shared my findings and recommendations with Mark and the board. Below is a short summary of my findings and recommendations. They are my conclusions and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Mark, staff or the board.
4Tucson is in a predictable place of needing to transition from its entrepreneurial startup phase to a more disciplined, stable, financially healthy and strategically focused organization that serves its constituents well to meet its mission and vision. Internally it could benefit from better organization and the ability to fully utilize its impressive staff. While it has a comprehensive vision it is necessary to focus its efforts in the most strategic arenas and by doing less to accomplish more. Ministries that seek to accomplish too much at once fragment their efforts, ask the impossible from staff and create unrealistic expectations internally and externally. This is not unusual in startup ministries, but they need to transition to a more stable environment. 4Tucson needs such a stable environment.
There has been significant stress in the relationship between Mark and senior team members in recent years. There were not clearly defined roles and Mark was not particularly skilled in building this senior team. It is unfortunate that the ministry lost four of its leaders in recent months and had the issues been addressed earlier this might have been avoided. Mark is a skilled entrepreneur with a history of startups, however, he could use coaching in sustaining the organization over the long run.
I believe the board needs to be strengthened with greater diversity, additional members and changes to its monitoring of the health of 4Tucson. Communication between the board and the staff also needs to be significantly strengthened.
In my conversation with the board I shared several options for realigning 4Tucson for the future. One of these options made the most sense to Mark and the board and we are in conversation for how to realign the organization, modify Mark’s role so he plays to his strengths and engage a COO type position to provide greater leadership to 4Tucson internally. This process would also include an outside coach/consultant to better ensure a smooth realignment. In addition, reconciliation between Mark and those who have resigned needs to be a high priority and I believe all parties are desirous of this.
In sharing my findings with the board and Mark, I found them to be open and receptive to what I shared.
I was impressed by the passion, expertise and warm spirit of the staff and board as well as the strategic nature of your shared ministry together. 4Tucson has a rich history and staff to build on. Ministries go through predictable growth phases and it is my hope that the next phase will be healthier, more collaborative and productive while building on the success of the past.
Principle, Addington Consulting