“We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.”
~Jeff Bezos, Executive Chairman of Amazon
Stubborn on Vision
Stephan Hicks, Founder and Executive Director of My Brother’s Keeper (MBK), has been engaging, empowering, and encouraging men to get in the Game of Life and become better men, better brothers, better husbands, better fathers, and better community members. (You can read more about MBK in our June 2021 post HERE.)
While MBK remains laser-focused on that vision, the fuel that makes it a sustainable reality is their commitment to measure results.
MBK runs National Fatherhood Initiative®’s (NFI)’s 24:7 Dad®, 24:7 Dad® Key Behaviors Workshop, InsideOut Dad®, and Fathering in 15™ programs. Each comes with assessment tools that Stephan is committed to using. They help MBK see what is working and what is not, and it allows them to flex program components (e.g., dosage, frequency, and format) while still achieving desired outcomes. The data helps motivate potential funders and community partners to support MBK’s work, thus enabling them to realize their vision.
Being stubborn is often deemed a negative characteristic, but for Stephan and MBK, it is part of keeping their eyes on the Prize; remaining focused on the vision; and not becoming distracted by difficulties but finding creative ways to overcome them.
Flexible on Details
A great example of how MBK has been flexible on details is how they addressed the challenges of court-ordered fathers using Fathering in 15™ – a program that builds pro-fathering knowledge, attitudes, and skills in an online environment.
Stephan recognized there were fathers unable to successfully complete the 12-week programs due to court-imposed deadlines, employment issues, and some who were not comfortable participating in a group setting. He knew if fathers were missing sessions or dropping out of the programs that it negatively impacted their children. So, Stephan worked with the court to develop an acceptable option – one he calls the Flex-Option.
Enrollment in the Flex-Option comes with 2 hours of one-on-one consultation with Stephan, and he walks them through the Fathering in 15™ pre-survey, then the URL to the website, and they work together through the first session. After that, the dads have a set time to complete the 15 topics. Stephan has seen dads complete all topics in a weekend, and some that have taken 4 + months to complete. This option achieves the goals for the dads to be certified and satisfy the court.
Stephan says, “We are proud and excited to submit our first-year results! Fathering in 15™ has proven to be a more flexible and convenient option for fathers who cannot attend the regular group class (for whatever reason). Over the last year, twelve fathers were enrolled. Eleven have graduated, and one is currently working toward completion.
“Their combined fathering knowledge, awareness, and skills increased by fifty-seven percent. You might not feel that twelve is a lot; however, consider the potential impact on the twenty-nine children of these fathers. We'll take that statistic any day! These fathers would not have been able to meet their familial, social, legal, or agency obligations as a father without Fathering in 15™.
“We want to acknowledge Mentor Virginia for equipping us with best practice mentoring skills and National Fatherhood Initiative® for equipping us with the best fatherhood training, curriculums, and resources. We especially thank Henrico County for their continued support of MBK's Father2Father Initiative. We could not make a difference without you! Gratefully!”
How can Fathering in 15™ work for fathers in your community? Don’t be stubborn; ask me!