Is your agency’s aspiration worth aspiring to? Test it!

October 31, 2023 at 8:51 AM |
Posted by: Katie Miller
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When the 3-year, 4-state, 5-jurisdiction Alia UnSystem Innovation Cohort leaders plus the professional and lived expert guides were goal-setting early in 2018, one important question we had to answer was, “How do we know if our aspiration is good enough?”

“Good enough” for this group meant bold enough, impactful, understandable, and able to be executed. Try running your team or agency’s goal through these series of questions:

  1. Does this make the lives of children and families better? To what extent and in what ways? Is your goal system-focused (on increasing efficiencies, say) or family-focused, measuring outcomes that matter to kids and families?

  2. Is this a real problem or an assumption? Do you have evidence? We must be sure we are solving for the true challenges, not our presenting pain points. One example is in recruiting foster families. Is our bigger problem a shortage of foster families, or is that we remove children unnecessarily? Be sure you’re solving for the right problem.UnSystem Cohort Aspirations
  3. Are there multiple ways to solve the problem? If your aspiration is too myopic, it won’t elicit creativity or make space for lots of different problem solvers. Can anyone in your agency or community offer an idea or a possible solution? This will help ensure your aspiration can have buy-in across audiences and also has staying power.

  4. Can YOU do something differently tomorrow? An aspiration that has both micro and macro approaches is most powerful. If you and your staff or community members can see within the aspiration ways to immediately apply it to their behavior, that’s a win. If it’s not translatable to stakeholders in their day-to-day, it’s likely to remain just and idea with no legs.

  5. Are you inspired by it? Do you read the aspiration and feel energy and possibility? Does it align with your values and urge you to promote connection, justice, and love? That’s a good sign it will inspire others to act as well!

The Alia UnSystem Innovation Cohort determined their shared aspiration was this: Family connections are always preserved and strengthened.

It prioritizes family, focuses on the problem of separation (in addition to safety), can be implemented in many ways, is applicable any time, and by adding the word “always” made it feel courageous and inspiring.

Is your team inspired by your shared goals and vision? Maybe this will help!