Posts Tagged ‘ problem-focused

Virtuous Leadership and a Linear Service Model (LSM) Part 2

What are the primary virtues of an effective leader and why is virtue in a leader so crucial to a linear service model?

In our initial attempts to ascertain what it was that drove executives that led organizations that performed better than others, what made them so different, we noticed that there were no obvious answers.  It was not education or fundraising ability.

Virtuous Leadership and Effective Organizations

We realized that it is not enough that the executive be passionate about helping woman that find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to face an unplanned pregnancy unsupported and alone.  Furthermore each executive represented very different levels of management skill compared to other executives who enjoy similar success.

The one thing that emerged that appeared common among executives that lead organizations drastically more effective at reaching and serving women facing unplanned pregnancy is their personal character, the level of mature Christian virtue manifesting in the mundane life of the leader.  What also became clear was that system or services do not matter as much as character.  The reason for this is because all systems are developed and driven by the innate character of the executive.  In thinking about the specific character traits or virtues that represent an effective PRC executive we began to notice that the character traits or virtues were similar.  And to a greater or lesser extent these executives manifested the same virtues which influenced virtually all of their behavior thereby setting the tone and expectations for the organizations they lead.  This executive influence over time caused the organizations themselves to become more virtuous and consequently more focused, more effective at accomplishing the mission.

Virtue is the basic building block to an effective PRC and emanate from the executive director’s personal commitment to virtuous living.  I am speaking of virtue in the classical sense of the word.  Those virtues are informed by the Bible and fall into five categories; wisdom, empathy, courage, temperance, and justice.  Each virtue has great depth and it is the intention of the following posts to only focus on those aspects of each virtue that make it valuable to the pregnancy center organization.

Check out the results a pregnancy center in Lakeland, FL after the Executive Mary Rutherford implemented a Linear Service Model by clicking here.

Virtuous Leadership and a Linear Service Model Part 1

Virtuous Leadership and a Linear Service Model (LSM) Part 1: As goes the Executive so goes the organization.

Virtuous Leadership=Focused Organization

In the process of both running a medical PRC and helping others to develop and operate their medical PRCs it occurred to me that there are certain questions all of us PRC Executives need to have answered.  Questions like:
-How can we get more abortion-minded women to call our center?
-How can we get more abortion-minded women who call to schedule an appointment?
-How can we get more of those who schedule an appointment to show?
-How can we get more of the women we see to have their babies?
-How can I as an executive get more control over the organization and out of the daily grind of wondering just how effective our counseling methods really are and know for sure?
These questions are linked to each other and often if you answer one you solve another.  The good news is that the answers to these questions are available.  Even better than that many center executives are experiencing the freedom and comfort that comes with knowing that their organization is accomplishing the mission of reaching and effectively serving women at risk for abortion better than they ever dreamed they could right now.  The next few posts are written to address these questions.  It is my hope they will help propel you as an executive as well as the organization which you lead to a higher level of effectiveness than you ever let yourself believe was possible.

In the process of thinking through how to convey the answers to the most pressing questions every PRC executive seems to share, something occurred to me; there is only one guarantee for success.  I have seen many organizations face the difficult questions, make difficult decisions about how to answer those questions, and go on to greater effectiveness at reaching and serving women facing unplanned pregnancies, while others do not.  At first glance the organization that ultimately succeeds at that worthiest of all goals versus the one that does appear the same.  But after having observed and worked with both types of PRCs over the years, a key difference began to emerge between them.  But that key difference was not manifesting as the usual suspects such as a specific type of operation.  It was not that one offered a specific service like ultrasound technology and the other did not. Nor was it dependant on access to money.  It was not even that the successful organizations had developed a strategic plan, because unsuccessful ones had too.  What we began to notice was that while the organizations that were effective and gained greater effectiveness at reaching and serving women at risk for abortion were the ones that were committed to sticking to their strategic plan and creating systems of service to intentionally improve (LSM), there seemed to be an underlying driving force to that commitment.  These organizations had the fortitude to do the really, really hard work of facing their brutal reality and creating a new reality through focused action.  Incidentally it is difficult to have consistently focused activity without a strategic plan driving the development of the approaches that are taken to accomplish the mission. But the specifics of a strategic plan seem to be secondary.

Admittedly, I was a little surprised at the revelation that the specific details of a strategic plan were secondary to just simply having and religiously sticking to that plan.  The end result is almost always some level of a step by step Linear Service Model. You must forgive my bias toward the value of the CompassCare LSM.  However, once my proverbial eyes adjusted to the light of this new revelation we started asking ourselves:  “What made some organizations able to pursue a strategic plan while others seemed content to let their strategic plan, if they had one, sit on the shelf?”

Over time we began to observe a common element in pregnancy centers that continued to get better and better at their mission.  At the heart of the organizations that were able to purse a strategic plan and enjoy the resulting benefits of a more or less linear service process for reaching and serving the high risk abortion-minded woman was the activity of a particular person; the executive.

We began to realize that the activity of a PRC, over the course of time, reflected the behavior and expectations of the person who occupied the  executive director position.  In fact this realization became so obvious that we began using the following phrase in all our PRC Linear Service training:  “As goes the executive so goes the organization.”

In part 2 we will discuss the role of personal virtue in executive leadership and what its practical implications are for developing and implementing an effective linear service model (LSM).

Check out the results of a pregnancy center in Omaha, NE after their executive, Michelle Sullivan, decided to implement a Linear Service Model by clicking here.

Linear Service Model vs Global Service Model Defined

After developing the first and only repeatable Linear Service Model for the pregnancy resource center movement many have asked me where the terms came from and what the differences are between a Linear Service Model or LSM and the traditional way a Pregnancy Center operates. Essentially, we started applying the terms in 2004-05 in an attempt to distinguish between what CompassCare had been doing and what we were now doing.

What is the difference anyway?

The definitions in the context of a Pregnancy Center are as follows:

  • Linear Service Model (LSM): An approach to serving women that focuses on solving the common problem of unplanned pregnancy each woman faces by taking each woman through a consistent, chronological, scripted, step-by-step decision-making process in an effort to answer the right questions in the right order. One of the key assumptions in a good LSM is that the manner in which services are provided is just as important as the services themselves. An LSM standardizes services to women and ensures that those services are provided the same way with each and every patient for the purposes of accountability (which safeguards the organization from attack), and for measurability (which allows for targeted changes to keep the organization on the cutting edge of service). This LSM can also accurately be termed the “Problem-focused Model” as it allows the organization to be an expert at solving a particular problem without having to be an expert at the individual circumstances of each patient/client. This is a more Biblical approach because it is the approach that God in Christ took by solving each person’s sin problem through solving the issue of sin itself on the cross.
  • Global Service Model (GSM): An approach to serving women that focuses on developing a relationship with each individual client using several different types of services in an effort to provide a place of “unconditional positive regard” an idea first developed by Carl Rogers. This model places the client in the driver’s seat by providing her with a menu board of services from which she can choose, also based on one of Carl Rogers’ ideas known as “Client-centered Therapy.” Each client is served differently at the discretion of client advocate or counselor usually beginning with a client-driven conversation lasting up to an hour. Often the counselor defers to the client as to her abortion-vulnerability rather than an objective assessment of her socio-economic situation which actually is the basis of the pressure to drive a woman to terminate her pregnancy. The counselor then attempts to provide certain types of information to dissuade her from having an abortion. The GSM is based on an unbiblical, modified, secular humanistic counseling model and is difficult to improve primarily because there is no way of accurately assessing the overall performance of the organization when each patient is served differently. Another term that could be used for the GSM is a “Client-centered Model.”

For case studies on centers implementing CompassCare’s Linear Service Model called the Optimization Tool go to

10% of All Client Appointments Are At Risk for Abortion Is Average?

At the average medical PRC, why is it that only 10% of the entire client load actually pregnant women seriously considering abortion? We have found that it has to do with how services are provided . . . based on a secular humanistic model of counseling. Can those Pregnancy Care Centers reverse that trend to 90% or more? The bad news is that we have only found one way to fix this problem and it cannot be done in less than 4 months and with nothing short of changing the way services are offered. To read a more detailed history of the pregnancy resource center model and why it is not working click the following link: Analysis of Why the PRC Is Not Working and How to Fix It

Let me clarify. Ultimately we need to have a trend reversal in the mission critical areas of the pregnancy center. This number of just 10% of all clients seen as at risk for abortion represents a deeper problem. For example, let’s say that your organization schedules an average of 200 appointments per year that actually show up. And of those 200 only 20 are considered pregnant and at risk for abortion. Furthermore lets say that you have the capacity to see 500 more clients this year. Since the typical PRC service strategy affords you the opportunity to see approximately 10% of your entire client load at risk for abortion (20 out of 200) you need to find a way to increase that.

Is this a marketing problem or is it deeper?

Let’s explore that question. To increase your client load to 700 using your same service strategy will only get you 105 total pregnant women at risk for abortion assuming you get all 700 women in the door. If the annual number of women in the market for an abortion in your area is 2,000 and you want to reach them all you immediately have a problem. To reach 2,000 using your current strategy would mean you would have to serve a little under 14,000 clients per year. I don’t know about you but our organization could not afford that. We had to find another way.

While advertising may be a valid concern it is not the primary problem. Women respond over time more to what an organization does and less to how it advertises. The real challenge for us is to come up with a model of service delivery that is laser focused on that one type of woman who is seriously considering abortion in our respective communities (i.e. 18-24 year old, college or young professional, single woman who is predominantly Caucasian). If you can reach her you can reach anyone else who may be considering abortion. But to do that you will need to re-engineer the services you provide as well as how you provide them. Building an organization that consistently reaches pregnant, at risk women requires 1) adopting a new more Biblical philosophy of service, 2) re-engineering your service to be consistent with that philosophy of service, and 3) time for news to spread into the population (6-18 months after re-invent).

I have uploaded a position paper Analysis of Why the PRC Is Not Working and How to Fix It providing more historical background on these issues. Also, consider exploring some of the case histories of PRCs that have made the jump to a new model of service and have seen a dramatic shift in their patient load on CompassCare’s Training website at

Imagine 95% of Your Clients At-Risk for Abortion

Imagine 95% of the pregnant clients that walk through your doors at risk for abortion. What if I told you that there are pregnancy centers currently operating for whom this is happening. What if I told you that there are medical PRCs right now for whom 80-90% of their client load is actually pregnant?

There is a saying I use in our executive training OT training, “Strategic Marketing is everything you do.” It is important to note that it really does not matter how large of a population you are attempting to reach, the population of women is fairly connected and the group of women you need to reach is always a very small percentage of that larger population of women and perhaps even more connected to one another due to their close age (18-24). Essentially this means that word gets out fast about an organization in terms of what is provided and how it is provided even in fairly large towns.

The average pregnancy resource center spends less than 10% of its resources on pregnant women who are seriously considering abortion. The following graph represents typical trends seen in the average PRC. Note that with each step there is approximately a 50% reduction in the number of women who actually qualify to go to the next level of service. Whether your organization is scheduling 1000 appointments or 100 take a look at your trends and see if they are in the ball park with the trends shown in this graph.

Advertising outlets and messaging is only as effective at reaching the abortion-minded woman as your service delivery strategy is at over delivering on her expectations. In fact advertising that hits your target of at risk women will work against you over time on a bell curve if the services provided do not match with her expectations. If an organization has a reputation for not providing relevant services or providing those services in a relevant way, even if that reputation is outdated or untrue, it will take at least a four year cycle to reinvent that reputation through re-engineering the services that are provided and the manner in which they are provided to better match with the expectations of the woman who is considering abortion.

What every PRC executive wants is to move their organization from the trend shown in the graph above to the one shown below. But we cannot get there by doing more of what we are currently doing. To save 1000 lives with the current service process used in an average medical PRC they would have to schedule over 25000 appointments every year. I don’t know of a single organization that has the resources to do that. We have to be willing to understand what is not working and change it to see more lives saved using fewer resources.

Increased PRC effectiveness requires a shift in the way we do things

Imagine seeing more at risk pregnant women and more of them having their babies while having your overall non-pregnant or not-at-risk client load decrease to less than 5% of the total clients your serve. The best way to optimize the results your center is getting is by re-engineering your services, moving from a traditional or client-focused model to a linear or problem-focused model of service. You can read more about it at

Client-focused vs. Problem-focused Pregnancy Center

Jesus through His death and resurrection addressed the single greatest problem of humanity; sin and the separation from God it caused.  By focusing on solving the problem common to all it became the epitome of all solutions, able to elegantly apply to each individual.  Likewise, running a Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) ministry with a clear understanding of the common problem of unplanned pregnancy faced by the women we serve is important.  But even more important is the ability to clearly articulate the common path to solving that problem, which is the same despite the particular circumstances of each woman.  If a PRC attempts to engage each woman as she comes with no clear, distinct path of helping her understand the nature of unplanned pregnancy and what her options are in terms of solving the problem, it is difficult at best to consistently see women at risk for abortion having their babies.  Without a plan and process for solving the problem every woman faces it is almost impossible to have a relevant solution for any woman.  It is only after we become experts at solving the problem of unplanned pregnancy that we are free to engage each woman’s unique situation.  How does a ministry like CompassCare arrive at the process that best solves the problem of unplanned pregnancy for women seriously considering abortion?  It is through consistent prayer for wisdom and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  To be sure the Holy Spirit guides groups of people into making decisions and taking action (Acts 13:1-3, 15:28; 16:6-7; 20:28) just as He guides individuals. Therefore, we believe that CompassCare should expect that the Holy Spirit is able to guide us as we build and organize to achieve that vision through highly developed and measurable systems.  In fact, we are told that the very redemptive work of Jesus on the cross was “according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23, see also Acts 4:28; Luke 22:22).  A ministry is essentially an organization of people designed to redeem the situation of a person or a community of persons with a specific type of problem.  Jesus knew what He needed to say and do for specific “audiences”, as well as the timing and content of His message to them (Matthew 13:10-17; 15:24; 16:21; Luke 4:18-19).

CompassCare represents a new generation of PRCs moving from a loose ‘client-centered’ model to a highly defined ‘problem-focused’ model.  Being problem-focused (the quintessential unplanned pregnancy solution provider) allows the organization the ability to accurately measure what works and what does not and make targeted and prayerful changes to see more lives saved and more women come to Christ.

In what is known as the “Parable of the Talents” (Matthew 25:14-30), Jesus describes a principle of the kingdom of heaven in terms of responsible stewardship leading to increase. The size of the responsibility may vary (vs 15) but the requirement and accountability do not. The servants who proactively engaged in activity to fulfill their responsibility were commended as “good and faithful servants”. However, the one who reactively was passive acting out of fear was condemned as “wicked and slothful”. The main point Jesus is making with this parable is that those who are wise stewards with what they have been given (no matter what amount that is) will demonstrate that stewardship by having a tangible increase (profit, fruitfulness) and then will be rewarded by being given even more.  However, those who fearfully try to protect what they have will lose even the little that they have because of their poor stewardship (vs 29).

Jesus says in Matthew 11:19 “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

CompassCare network deeds 2009:     1847 babies saved, 154 women committing their lives to Christ.

Listen to Jim Harden as he teaches Executives of medical Pregnancy Resource Centers on the importance of making the shift from the traditional client-focused, ‘global’ services model to a problem-focused, ‘linear’ service model.

From Global to Linear