The CEO and leadership team of an Alberta-based non-profit was looking to redesign their organizational structure to be ready for projected growth in scale and complexity of operations. While they had experienced immense growth and success, the speed of their growth had started to outpace their current internal infrastructure. STRAAD knew that scaling is a challenge for all organizations, and not-for-profits have their own unique challenges and environments that they operate within. They came to us seeking support to amplify and effectively scale their organization so that they could continue to grow their impact.
Through a Discovery phase consisting of reviewing reports, documentation and strategy; interviewing leaders; and facilitating workshops and focus groups, we arrived at a few key areas of impact.
We determined that in conjunction with an outgrown organizational structure, the client required leader role clarity, prioritization, governance maturity, and development of competencies and behaviours to lead and integrate change. They were in critical need of a clear leadership philosophy and model that clarified the expectations, accountabilities and culture-shaping role of leaders.
STRAAD facilitated the senior leadership team through a series of workshops to articulate their leadership philosophy and corresponding behaviours; reimagine roles, reporting lines and structure; and address process and governance through decision-making criteria and meeting structures. This participatory process was critical to accelerate engagement and experimentation with strategic tactics, along with strengthening the leadership team’s ownership of the path forward.
An Alberta-based non-profit was standing at a crossroads. While its leaders, teams, and people felt immense pride in the success, growth and impact of the organization, it was grappling with the strain imposed by its existing organizational structure, systems, and ways of working. Several leaders who had grown and developed their careers within the organization needed to expand their scope, but many did not have the skillset or capacity to lead the growing organization within the complex non-profit ecosystem.
The high change load, coupled with a robust skill set in integrating new programs and a pattern of saying yes, ultimately resulted in the organization being unable to scale and meet the needs of both its people and Albertans. Additionally, as systems and structures have failed to keep pace, the burden had shifted to the workforce, resulting in employees experiencing burnout and questioning their commitment to the organization.
As a non-profit, the organization was also operating with tight budgets due to a model reliant on government grants and partner contracts, which meant fiscal responsibility in STRAAD’s design, delivery and implementation of solutions for the organization was vital.
STRAAD partnered with the client’s CEO and executive leadership team and activated our 5D approach. Our engagement began with Discovery, where STRAAD facilitated 1-on-1 interviews with the executive leadership team, focus groups with people managers, and collected and documented additional insights on employee sentiment, the existing strategic and leadership capabilities, and the overall health of the organization.
Our comprehensive discovery process was followed by our second D – Diagnosis. STRAAD compiled and themed our discovery findings and tested hypotheses against the outputs. Most importantly, STRAAD aligned with the CEO and senior leaders on a diagnosis of which organizational levers would not only help them achieve their near-term desired strategic planning outcomes, but also support successful implementation and execution in the long term.
While the client had articulated the need for support in organizational design change, STRAAD’s thorough discovery also unveiled four additional diagnoses of needs within the system:
To ensure executive leaders and the CEO received bespoke support, we moved into the third D – Design. STRAAD designed a series of workshops over the course of three months specifically for the CEO and senior leadership team to work through key areas of the diagnosis with facilitated guidance, advice and playback of decisions made and implementation required.
STRAAD’s fourth D – Delivery – moved the client to execution and implementation. We supported the leadership team in designing their leadership frame to incorporate into the full hire-to-retire HR cycle. STRAAD led the executive leadership team through the redesign of meeting architecture, decision-making processes, and accountability. In addition, STRAAD designed a customized organizational model to support the organization’s current needs and pain points, and have room for the organization to exponentially grow into its structure. Special emphasis was put on role levelling and clarity of responsibility to support these spans and layers.
Finally, STRAAD also supported the stand-up of a centralized Change Management support system with accountabilities, tools and resources to serve the entire organization through continued growth and evolution.
STRAAD partnered with the organization through its deliberate redesign of structure, process, ways of working, and behavioural and cultural tenets. The executive leadership team found the benefit of not only solving for structure but also the practices and ways of working necessary to realize the benefits of a well-designed organization. These leaders were direct authors and contributors to these interventions, giving them exposure and competence in the skills needed to lead a growing organization, and the ownership to champion and implement this work.
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