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Working With Thread… The New Social Fabric

By Janis Nagy, Chief Strategy Officer

I wanted to let everyone know about a project VectorCSP is working on with Thread, a non-profit based out of Baltimore. Thread engages underperforming high school students confronting significant barriers outside of the classroom by providing each one with a family of committed volunteers and increased access to community resources. They foster students’ academic advancement and personal growth into self-motivated, resilient, and responsible citizens. Their results are amazing, and I encourage all of you to check out their website and Facebook page.

VectorCSP is using the Optimizing Human Performance (OHP) Front End Analysis (FEA)™ process to analyze a full-time Thread role (Community Manager) to identify interventions that are capable of optimizing total system performance.

The Thread Community Manager is a part of the larger Thread community, which includes 384 students and young adults, and more than 1,200 volunteers and collaborators. Each Community Manager works with up to 12 GrandParents (that’s a position description, not an actual GrandParents) who are a part of a community of up to 300 volunteers from the Baltimore area, who provide academic, professional, and social support to as many as 80 Thread students. The Community Manager is an absolutely key role in the organization, guiding the translation of Thread’s mission, vision, and values at the school site; actively developing volunteer leadership; collaborating with principals, administrators and teachers; and ensuring that students, volunteers and collaborators have the tools and supports that they need to thrive.

We began the OHP FEA process by interacting with members from Thread’s leadership team to clearly identify and articulate organizational goals.  Next, we worked with their team to select a high-performing Community Manager for on-the-job interviews. Using the OHP FEA methodology and job aids, we have already completed a number of comprehensive interviews with the Community Manager to identify the accomplishments she produces on-the-job, and the activities and behaviors she exhibits in order to produce her amazing results.  In these interviews, we dig deep into data such as criticality of error, difficulty, speed required to perform, complexity, positive and negative workplace influences. All of which facilitate good performance or serve as barriers to good performance in achieving the job outputs.

Eventually accomplishments and tasks will be prioritized, and the appropriate interventions intended to enhance the performance of other Community Managers will be developed. These interventions fall into one of four categories:

  1. Personnel assignment and selection

  2. Skill and knowledge enhancement (training)

  3. Motivation and incentives

  4. Work environment including job and process design

I will keep you posted on progress as we work with Thread over the next several weeks. In the meantime, please check them out on the web. If you are in the Baltimore area, please consider becoming a volunteer. Thread is a great organization with amazing people doing wonderful things for the community.

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