The Road to Success

The Rehabilitation Services Bureau

July 2005


On-going Change

Perhaps more now than in our recent past it seems we hear from staff that there is a “lot of change” occurring in our agency.  It does seem that quite a bit of change will be on the horizon, but our current practices and processes haven’t really changed much since the 70’s.  Counselors still work one-on-one with a client who is interested in finding a job and dealing with the many issues created by disability.  So for now it seems that there is a perceived change that is creating the sense of urgency among staff.  The perceived change stemming from our on-going discussions from our administrator that “everyone does placement”; the pending redesign of staffing patterns within area offices and across offices; the soon to be implemented IRSS; and the accountability we all have in realizing employment opportunities for Iowans with disabilities all add to this ever increasing sense of change.  This perception of change is quite accurate; IVRS is changing (as it must to meet new demands) but remains committed to our core values.


IVRS has an amazing purpose that generates a relentless drive for progress that creates exemplary service for Iowans with disabilities.  And yet IVRS remains grounded in our timeless core values and enduring purpose that allows this organization to respond to and prepare for a changing world.  This purpose has a profound impact upon our organization and stabilizes our agency so that when changing “markets” and “issues” require IVRS to proactively plan by developing different structures, strategies, practices, and mechanisms, the core values and fundamental concepts of this organization will design our future.  IVRS is built to endure, to motivate, to inspire, to lead, and ultimately transforms our corner of the world. 


The only true sense of stability is our strong sense of purpose and our core values.  As an organization that has been called archaic by some critics we must not only adapt, but willingly and enthusiastically embrace a proactive plan for the future.  And IVRS is only able to perform beyond the naysayer's prophetic doom by pure example of our repeated accomplishments.  Those accomplishments are created every day by our dedicated staff who believe in our work and thrill at the joy of our clients who become employed.  So while our structures and processes may change, our core values and purpose remain ever enduring and strong. 


In the book “Built to Last” the authors remind great organizations that change is inevitable in terms of structure and processes, but greatness is born from an enduring purpose and a set of core values.  The book suggests that all members of an organization consider the following key questions because the only “truly reliable source of stability is a strong inner core and the willingness to change or adapt everything except that core.”  So as you face the pending changes think about your work answers to the following questions:

  1. Who am I and what do I stand for?
  2. What is my purpose?
  3. How do I maintain my sense of self in this chaotic, unpredictable world?
  4. How do I infuse meaning into my life and work?
  5. How do I remain renewed, engaged, and stimulated?


Our clients are depending upon your answers. 


Jim Gates’ Sense of Purpose:

Recently while visiting the Fort Dodge Area Office staff was asked to share a placement story.  The story shared by Jim Gates epitomizes his core values and sense of purpose in working for IVRS.  Jim had been working with a young man who had recently moved to Algona from another state.  The young man was poorly groomed, presented himself in a less than ideal and grounded manner, and had significant cognitive challenges in learning new material.  Jim worked with this young man to understand the expectations of hygiene and grooming for work, developed a job for him at Hy Vee where he currently works as a meat cutter.  The young man did not know how to read the scales and so Trisha Cady developed flash cards for him that he and Jim used so the young man could perform the job as expected.  One day the young man approached Jim and asked if IVRS would purchase some more work shirts for him because he could not get the blood out of the white shirts.  A call to the Fort Dodge office yielded an answer from Courtney Bertsch on how to get the stains out of the clothing.  As a team the Fort Dodge office helped this young man maintain a job.  As a Counselor with a strong sense of purpose and the values of service, honesty, and commitment to the client and the employer this young man is gainfully employed and performing well.