Written by Juanita Fox
On Monday and Tuesday, April 10 and 11, a group of for-profit and non-profit business leaders from near and far joined the Garden Spot Communities executive leadership team at E4 Strategic Consultancy in Lancaster. In addition to warm spring breezes, a feeling of energy and expectation was in the air. E4 Strategic Consultancy created a workspace and facilitated discussions so the group could brainstorm a business model framework for the newest line of business at Garden Spot Communities – a consultancy.
In addition to the executive leadership team, the following business leaders were present: Deb Brandt, Fig Industries, Daryl Groff, WellSpan Philhaven, Sandy Hegelein Lawson, Asbury Foundation, Chris Kennedy, Age 2 Age, Lisa McCracken, Ziegler, Rick Stiffney, Mennonite Health Services and Judith Trumbo, Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community.
CEO Steve Lindsey opened the conversation by sharing Dale Weaver’s vision that Garden Spot Village, as a community, would speak into the way services are provided for older adults around the world. He referenced recent strategic planning that called for a line of business that would facilitate learning and sharing between Garden Spot Communities and similar businesses around the world. And he welcomed the creative team gathered that would make a mark on this new initiative of Garden Spot Communities.
Steve Jeffrey, chief strategy and innovation officer, continued to set the stage for the brainstorming, reading the parable of the talents from Matthew 25. He shared that when he looks at the passage in the context of Garden Spot Village, the community is already giving through volunteer time and donations. He asked, “If we are already doing it, why do more?” He quickly answered his own question saying, once an organization begins to look outwardly, there is no limit. We have the opportunity to be light in dark situations and help those with less.
Operating with a mindset of abundance in opportunity and potential clients allows an organization to give and receive with open hands.
Lois Dostalik, E4, began the business model generation brainstorm by explaining that the goal for the time was to create as many ideas as possible so the Garden Spot Communities executive team could sift through and find the right model to move forward.
Over the next two days the group brainstormed customer segments, value propositions, sales channels and customer relationships. Many ideas were tossed around: Do we focus on Lancaster County? Do we serve a broader audience on a national or international level? What is the role of the consulting division? Is it a best practice duplicator, or a convener or facilitator? Do we work with non-profit organizations or for-profit companies? Do we provide services online or in-person? What do we call the organization?
Between brainstorming sessions, juggling, stories and laughter paved the way to innovative ideas and community. Reflecting on the conclave, Steve Jeffrey says, “We are deeply indebted to the group of professionals and E4 for all of the great thought and discussion. It was invaluable to shaping our plans. We believe this is truly an opportunity to provide significant benefit to other organizations, while at the same time fueling our internal fire for innovation, ingenuity and continual improvement for our community. It became crystal clear that we can be a catalyst for real change in leaders and their organizations. ”