Capacity: Too much, Too little, or just not aligned?

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Shifts in revenue, expenses, funding, and/or staffing resources, are threatening the operational sustainability of Organizations and is driving them to the point of having to restructure. In response to this shift, Organizations must now prioritize understanding their capacity, structure themselves accordingly, and improve efficiency when meeting levels of customer demand. 

Capacity, defined as the actual or potential ability to perform, yield or withstand, or the maximum amount or number that can be received or contained, is where discussions need to begin. 

As it relates to Organizations, capacity concerns how staffing and systems are efficiently designed to effectively deliver services to a specific volume of business. It is about building the organizational structure to withstand the volume of business in a financially sustainable way, all while achieving the desired outcomes.

Healthcare, Human Services, and Higher Education, are just a few of the many sectors that are taking a more in-depth look at capacity, efficiency, outcomes, and job performance. Historically, issues with capacity were solved simply by adding additional staff. Today, with limited financial resources available, Organizations must find ways to become more efficient in order to survive.

Having a detailed plan and specific approach to Organization Design is a major factor in successfully restructuring and positioning an organization for long-term success. In our experience with clients, following a proven approach to restructuring will help Organizations increase production, save money, optimize staff, reengineer service delivery, and support decision making by Leadership.  

Our approach to Organization Design is structured in 3 phases: Core Process, Job Functions, and Overall Structure. Each phase is highlighted below:

Core Process
Prior to an organization examining the role of Staff in a company, department, or team, they must first define the current core process that a customer (student, patient, individual, etc.) would experience operationally. The core process, or customer experience, must be dissected in order to learn where the capacity and volume levels are not logically, functionally, and financially aligned. 

We examine this from the wholistic viewpoint of the operational process as a whole, in order to understand the high level of strategic need, the logical flow, and the value to the customer. It is then that we can ensure the capacity can withstand customer demand and elasticity in volume. 

It is also during this Phase, that valuable insight can be shared concerning aspects of the core process that no longer add value and what aspects are missing and need to be added. This is one phase of three that helps build the logic to support the decision making and change process for redesign.

Job Functions
As work is being done to define an organization’s core process, Phase 2: Job Functions, begins.  Our propriety Job Post Process, allows us to develop a comprehensive understanding of the roles of job functions within an organization. Once this depth of understanding is reached, we can align those functions to the core process and, in turn, determine staffing levels, allocation of resources, staffing capacity, and alignment within the overall structure. 

Overall Structure
Phase 3: Organizational structure, is the final piece of the operational puzzle which builds upon the capacity information derived from the Core Process and Job Function Phase analysis. This Phase will bring in to question staffing roles, functional alignment, and outcome effectiveness. 

While these are complex decisions, we encourage clients to focus on the benefits of redesigning an organization to improve capacity. Some of which include: 

  • Increases in revenue performance or expansion
  • Identifying non-value added activities and cost savings
  • Increases in staff production and moral
  • Strategic discussions about the alignment of services to future demand
  • Identifying gaps and duplications in service

At Curtis Strategy, we understand the challenges organizations face when capacity discussions arise. We have supported departmental and organization-wide restructuring initiatives to ensure organizations remain viable for the future. If you have any additional questions or would like to discuss how Curtis Strategy can support your organization’s capacity, please contact us. 


Do You Have a Plan for Your Plan?

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A typical strategic plan takes months to create and when the final plan is voted in, it can feel like the process is complete. However, creating your organization’s strategy is not an end in itself. The culmination of the planning process marks the start to executing the strategic direction envisioned for the organization. In order to ensure success, a well thought-out and detailed plan for implementation is required. 

An implementation plan should be devised in conjunction with the strategic planning process. There are four areas to consider before implementing your strategic plan: Culture, Resources, Accountability, and Systems.

An organization’s culture is formed over time through shared values. Organizations that have successfully implemented their strategic plans value employee engagement and communication at all levels. The staff will ultimately be responsible for executing the plan so it makes sense to involve them in strategic discussions throughout the process by listening to their ideas, obtaining feedback, and acting on their suggestions when applicable. This not only builds trust between leadership and staff but also helps set the stage for ownership and accountability during implementation. When everyone in the organization is working toward the same purpose, productivity and morale increase leading to more successful outcomes.

Organizational capacity is always a factor when designing strategy. Without sufficient and capable resources, an organization cannot move forward with its strategic vision. An assessment of both the financial and human resources needed to move the plan forward is required for success. Budgets should be reviewed and aligned with strategic priorities. If the organization is lacking the appropriate staff or skills, additional resources may be needed. In certain situations, it may also be necessary to review the overall organizational structure to ensure the structure aligns with strategy. Without this alignment and the right resources necessary to implement the plan, it becomes difficult to impossible to make progress.

During the planning process we guide clients in creating business plans at the tactical level, which includes timelines and assignments. These tactical plans become the foundation for each department’s role in carrying out the overall strategic plan. Incorporating strategic initiatives into employees’ job responsibilities assigns accountability and increases engagement since this helps them understand how they fit into the overall strategy. Empowering employees by encouraging decision-making and providing a safe space to take risks also helps with accountability and ownership. Regularly scheduled strategy meetings at each level of the organization are helpful as long as the intent is to review progress, provide a means of escalation and problem solving, and to hold people accountable to their tasks and objectives.

Management and tracking systems help drive the implementation process by providing a snapshot of how the team is doing against the plan. The use of a project dashboard, scorecard, or other tracking tool keeps leadership engaged and provides a means of accountability for those implementing the plan. The use of a system gives teams support by providing a platform to discuss barriers and solutions with leadership. The system also helps to structure meetings and directs focus for time in between meetings so that it is spent working on the right priorities. Whichever tool is used, timeframes, progress tracking, milestones, and issues requiring escalation should be included to provide a complete picture of the implementation status. This helps eliminate any surprises as to why deadlines may go off course. A sample dashboard is included below. Performance management and reward systems should also be considered to provide a structure to reinforce the contributions of top performers in moving the organization’s strategic vision forward.  

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Implementing the strategic plan is arguably more important than determining the organization’s strategy. It is what will determine how impactful changes will be made within the organization. Implementation planning should be done in conjunction with strategic planning to maximize success. Involvement of employees at all levels throughout the planning process keeps them informed and engaged, leading to better long-term outcomes. The best thought-out strategy does not go very far without the right culture, resources, structure, and systems to move it forward. With careful planning, an organization's strategic vision is better attainable.