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Embracing the Dynamics of Disruption with New Leadership Mindsets

Maribeth Wright, Ph.D.Executive Director, National Association of Health and Educational Facilities Finance Authorities

The Challenge:

Two years post the 2008 financial crisis NAHEFFA leadership was caught in the dynamics of disruption. Its mission to support low cost capital financing options for not for profit and governmental health and educational institutions was difficult to execute. Tax exempt bonds were on the cutting table as Congress looked for ways out of the financial crisis. Federal and state budget cuts created additional financial constraints making it difficult to increase membership and infuse the organization with new members and innovative thinking. NAHEFFA needed more than member- volunteers to navigate the future.

The Solution:

Staff from the SyncUp group facilitated the strategic thinking and planning process for the National Association of Health and Educational Facilities Finance Authorities (NAHEFFA) starting in June, 2011 through September 2012.

Suzanne led that process for us with the Board as well as the Strategic Planning Committee. She facilitated several strategic meetings as well as presented and facilitated strategic discussions at our national conferences. Her expertise in organizational development guided the Board as we tackled difficult conversations regarding our mission, values, opportunities, challenges and internal processes.

The group spent significant time surfacing and challenging long held assumptions and beliefs that were getting in the way of trust and limiting innovation. As trust was built, long protected territories were abandoned in favor of a shared perspective that allowed new thinking to emerge and led to staff and organization changes.

The Impact:

NAHEFFA made a bold decision to hire an operations director to implement new strategic initiatives. This has been instrumental in the ability to continue to work through issues that call for more coordination, consistency and collaboration internally and externally.

The shift in strategic orientation from comfort to complexity has increased new member engagement with new opportunities to serve.

Through the strategic process the association has now opened up it’s membership requirements to allow for expanded growth in the future.