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S7E35: A Rescue Mission that Moved from Near Bankruptcy to Flourishing

S7E35: A Rescue Mission that Moved from Near Bankruptcy to Flourishing

If you were the new CEO of an organization that’s only a year from bankruptcy with a staff that’s not engaged, what would you do? Reverend Jeremy Montgomery is the President and CEO of Philly Housethe second-oldest rescue mission in the United States. Listen to learn the steps he took to quickly move from toxic to flourishing.


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In this episode:

  • Take us back to that time, when you came into an organization with a long history. It was clear that you needed to make changes and improvements to continue to serve the Philadelphia community. How’d you decide where to start? What were some of your first steps to address the workplace culture and get employees on board with the changes? (02:49)
  • In November 2018, Jeremy started in the organization and BCWI became his roadmap (03:19)
  • “It was a very toxic culture.” (04:01)
  • The organization was on the way to financial bankruptcy (04:21)
  • Conducted 1×1 with every staff member (5:35)
  • How’d you bring people along and help motivate them to embrace the strategy and work together on teams to implement changes?  (07:01)
  • Develop a meeting cadence: What meetings are necessary and who should be a part of the meetings? (07:42)
  • Listen and then authorize people to make decisions (10:47)
  • Communication goes both ways – what you share with those under your leadership – and how you listen well to employees. How have you and your leadership team worked on healthy communications? (13:51)
  • 2022 Results: for the second year in a row, many felt leadership didn’t do well with disagreements (14:21)
  • Disagree With Purpose-Fostering Healthy Conflict BCWI resource (15:01)
  • 5 straight years of BCWI Survey  
  • What did you learn through embracing transparency in your own assessment? (17:01)
  • I understand the reluctance of leaders to ask those who report to them, “How am I doing?” (18:11)
  • “A 360 allows us to invite others to reveal those blind spots.” (20:07)
  • Is there something in your personal journey as a leader, in your background, where you developed these values and characteristics – your confidence, transparency, and enthusiasm for growth? (23:55)
  • Unending moral failure among Christian leaders. A lack of accountability (25:39)
  • What would you say today to the leader who is discouraged? The one who knows they need to make changes and facilitate growth but is overwhelmed with where to start in the process. (27:48
  • Get professional help. Fully engage Best Christian Workplaces Institute (28:00)
  • Executive coach. (28:35)
  • Drop the superhero complex (28:54)
  • How do you and your leadership team keep your employees motivated – in the face of the daily ups and downs of ministry? What are some of the practices that have been important to encourage your team? (29:58)
  • History of the survey question “I have fun at work” (31:00)
  • March 2020, COVID, Staff Gatherings (Chicken dance) (32:20)
  • Create some fun (34:40)
  • What challenges and opportunities do you see on the horizon for Philly House? How are you positioning your team to continue to grow and flourish? (35:58)
  • More migrants means more Spanish-speaking needs (35:55)


Read the Transcript

Read a complete, word-for-word transcript of the episode.


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Email our host at info@workplaces.org