They’re embracing this mindset because it’s what drives Exponential Organizations (ExOs) to create 10x more impact than their peers. For an SMB company, the only way to get ahead is by taking on the attributes of these organizations.
That’s the mindset that drove Mallory Tompkins of 82nd Street Academics to enroll herself into the Exponential Organizations Master Business Course. Mallory recognized the need for an updated business model and clear, actionable steps because the company wasn’t seeing the impact they believed was possible. In short, she was thrilled by the results.
Experimentation and many of the other attributes “weren’t part of the school’s culture” or Mallory’s managerial style, but the course opened her up to the benefits of taking risks and learning through failure. These days the terms form part of her vernacular and the school has learned a lot from experimentation, creating social technologies, and leveraging a massive transformative purpose.
Learning has always been an integral part of Mallory Tompkins’ life. Wanting to help her community, Mallory volunteered at the non-profit school 82nd Street Academics in Queens, New York City. The school was set up to help public-school kids get into college or find work after graduation by offering supplemental education programs.
Mallory believed in the mission of the school so strongly that she began working there as an assistant teacher. Today, over a decade later, she holds the post of Director of Instruction and Learning.
As a key player in shaping the future of the school, Mallory was one of several staff members interested in growing the organization and increasing its impact on the community.
Mallory and her colleagues found inspiration in Scaling Up by Verne Harnish which then led them to Exponential Organizations by Salim Ismail. The book itself was great and prompted a rush of new innovative ideas. The problem was how to go about putting these tactics into practice and that is what Salim Ismail, Kent Langley, and the Growth Institute Master Course provided.
82nd Street Academics has been so successful at scaling their operations and increasing impact through the ExO attributes that their founder, Ronald Tompkins, has been invited to be part of the Forbes Nonprofit Council.
Like many organizations, 82nd Street had a rambling mission statement over 20 words long that Mallory struggled to remember. The overarching aim and good intentions of the school were being masked by a lack of clarity.
Describing the old statement, Mallory said:
“It just didn’t have the spirit of the ongoing imprint that I wanted to have on students. It was more based on their achievement of getting into college, which is great, but that’s actually just one step in a much bigger imprint that you want to have on students’ lives and going through the MTP process is what really identified that for me. It’s not just about what outcomes I want the students to have. It’s about that bigger human change that I’m trying to inspire in our community."
Through the Exponential Organizations course, Mallory was able to define in laser-sharp terms exactly what the mission, or Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP), of the school, was.
“After our mastermind call and some individual coaching that Kent offered, I went through a lot of change. My MTP - the Massive Transformative Purpose - that came out of the class was ‘Create Lifelong Learners’.
It’s simple and succinct and it’s had a big influence on our core values.”
A new spirit of experimentation
Mallory was moved by the entrepreneurial passion of the course instructors, who encouraged leaders to try experimentation as a way to fuel growth.
Describing the impact of the course, Mallory said:
“It’s one thing to read it, but then the class actually pushed the change to be brought into the company.
Salim’s approach really encourages a lot of experimentation and just allowing yourself to fail and have some learning experiences.
We’ve tried some things, and now we know what doesn’t work, and now we’re out looking for the next phase of experimentation for the social technologies tool.”
Putting progress on display
Mallory had no clear visual way to measure the school’s progress before the course. Above her desk now hangs a giant dashboard which she updates daily with critical numbers related to the school’s 5-year, 10-year, and 15-year plan. Mallory said:
“We also have larger, more bird’s eye view dashboards visible at several different locations within the school. I wanted to make sure that no matter where you are in the agency, you’re aware of our strategic plan, you’re aware of our core values, and you really feel like you have ownership over that.
The dashboards ended up being one of the biggest things I walked away with. It was unexpected but became increasingly important and really clicks in with other work that we had been doing with Scaling Up.”
Strengthening links with the community
Organizations don’t exist in isolation and rely on the support of a community to flourish. Through the Exponential Organizations course, Mallory learned how to use Community and Crowd to more impactfully engage with the parents. Mallory said:
“I was able to share the ideas behind community and crowd with a colleague of mine who is already very interested in the idea of leveraging community. She ended up taking on the new initiative herself and it’s completely changed the outlook of our Facebook.
The parents of our students are interacting with our school in a way for educators and parents to connect outside of the classroom.
It’s less informational and more fun, so people are having more fun in their interactions with us rather than it always being about schedules of their students or different curriculum-centered conversations.”
Looking beyond the Exponential Organizations Master Business Course
Still passionate about learning, Mallory recommended the Exponential Organizations course as “an ongoing learning experience that everyone owes their company.” Mallory said:
“Exponential Organizations was about taking all of your amazing ideas, creativity, free spirit towards innovation, and passion to make things better, and saying ‘let’s actually go do it’.
If you have lots of amazing ideas for your organization, Exponential Organizations will help you structure all that creativity and turn it into a reality.
It was an opportunity for me as a leader to let somebody else lead and guide my own learning experience. I’m confident that the Exponential Organizations program will be powerful for the work you do and impact you’ll have. Visually, I see the difference every day in my work.”
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