Christine Jurzykowski, the majority owner and, in recent years, chief manager of Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas (90 miles southwest of Dallas), hired the Center three years ago to come in and simply teach the staff Holistic Management®.
Christine saw Holistic Management® as a way to develop Fossil Rim into a successful corporation while helping it live closer to its values, which include a respect for all life and a conviction that being a company that produces profit while restoring and preserving animals and habitat is possible.
In essence, Christine
hired us to build Fossil Rim's
capacity (environmentally, socially, and economically).
husband had transformed their 2,800 acres from the previous owner's private facility into a for-profit venture that now brings more than 100,000 people a year to view 1,100 endangered and exotic animals as well as several native species.
But, high season for tourists descended upon us, and Christine
began a nine-month exploration into possibly selling the operation or finding additional ownership partners.
decided to re-engage the Center with the possibility that the staff, with Center help, would eventually take over management and allow her
to step out of the day-to-day manager's role.
After lots of reflection and evaluation, Christine
and I realized that there are a number of things we could have done better to achieve a higher level of trust among all of us and in Holistic Management®.
We could have prepared people for the new COO by opening up discussions and encouraging everyone to identify and voice for themselves how this was likely to alter their decision-making.
And finally, we could have more clearly defined the role of Christine, the COO, the Center, department directors, and each staff person.
There are some things we have done well in laying the groundwork for building greater capacity among all of us.
has been absolutely committed to building consistency in decision-making and behavior and to approaching challenges from a standpoint of what serves the whole.
We have also worked very hard to keep the decision-making as consistent as possible despite changing players - who may or may not have had any experience in Holistic Management®.
We have made sure that proposals for new programs put forward by any department are all run through the same process for consideration and that changes from the financial plan are made by the same decision-makers who created the financial plan in the first place.
Additionally, we have continually stressed that the authority to do something comes with the willingness and requirement to be responsible for it - a key to any staff's capacity for sound decision-making.
Each year that we have produced operational profit, we have allocated a share to those who produced it (the staff), some for reserve for the upcoming year, and, this last year only, a portion to Christine
as repayment on a short-term note.
Well, we've just completed the first phase of a three-year strategic plan, and Christine
and the staff are enjoying better relationships with each other.
There is evidence that the staff and Christine
have increased capacity to make their collective vision a reality.
In the last two years, Christine
, the staff (varying from 50 to 70 people depending on the season), and I have made some significant progress.