Scott's Blog

How do you define success?

The dashboard in your car is there to communicate with you. But we have to pay attention to it. Ignoring the speedometer may cost you a speeding ticket. If the gas gauge indicates a full tank, we know that we can drive without the fear of running out of gas soon. 

On the other hand if we disregard the check engine light, we may do so at our own peril, perhaps incurring expensive repairs. My car even lets me know if my tires are low. Once I was able to drive directly to the tire shop before my low tire went flat, saving me a breakdown on the side of the road. 

Here at Memphis Union Mission, we track a lot of metrics. The number of nights of lodging provided, meals served, clients entering and leaving programs, graduation rates, utilization rates, cost per meal served, cost to graduate or serve a client are some but not all that we measure. 

Why? 

Like the dashboard in our car, they provide us with information that helps us make informed decisions.Where do we allocate resources, expand or contract a program, hire new staff, or even plan for weather extremes? Metrics are important tools.

The dashboard in your car does not guarantee that you will arrive at your intended location safely and on time. Likewise, metrics don’t guarantee success here at Memphis Union Mission. They are more like the mile markers along the way that let us know where we are. 

Why do we do what we do here at Memphis Union Mission? Why did we provide 107,706 nights of lodging last year? Why did we serve 289,206 meals during the same period? What was the point in serving 2,832 unduplicated men, women, and children? Why did we provide recovery or transitional services to 631 people last year?

Was it to say that we put a roof over their head? Or that they went to bed on a full stomach? One might think that its all about getting people off the street. But as important as these activities are, they provide a limited view of success. Why do we do what we do?

Everything that we do is to help transform the lives of those who have struggled with addiction, poverty, and homelessness. We want to make the love of God so real they can touch it!

Serving with you,

D. Scott Bjork
President & CEO

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