Social Innovation at Scale
The CEO of a Washington DC-based social innovation nonprofit engaged Conscient Strategies to help them develop an organizational strategy. The organization had been the cusp of shuttering their doors when they received a series of small grants followed by a $25 million investment that launched the CEO and her team into a period of rapid growth and scale.
The company was growing significantly in terms of revenue and team size but had not scaled its organizational structure or processes to match that growth. At the same time, key leaders were preparing to transition out of the organization, leaving significant leadership and skill gaps in their wake. Conscient Strategies worked with the organization to conduct leadership and organizational assessments. Then, in partnership with the CEO and board, implemented a multi-faceted project focused on leadership transition and development, organizational stabilization, operational support for rapid growth, and strategy development.
Conscient Strategies launched the engagement by conducting a multifaceted leadership and organizational assessment. The assessment analyzed past experience, current context, and future opportunities in light of the mission, programmatic approaches, structure, competing organizational cultures, leadership capabilities, team dynamics, and practical realities that shape day-to-day decision making.
What we discovered
The assessment revealed that the organization lacked the systems and infrastructure to support growth, suffered from extreme leadership gaps (both in terms of sufficient staffing and capabilities of existing leaders), and that the strain of rapid scale had pushed the CEO and global team into a place of extreme unhealth and ineffectiveness. Without a clear organizational identity, objectives, or strategy, the global leadership team was spread thin and wasting significant resources on inefficient decision-making and processes. Additionally, we identified a set of root issues with the finance function and operations teams that posed a significant risk to the organization’s success and sustainability.
Conscient Strategies worked with the organization to conduct leadership and organizational assessments. Then, in partnership with the CEO and board, implemented a multi-faceted project focused on leadership transition and development, organizational stabilization, operational support for rapid growth, and strategy development.
What we did
Out of this assessment, we engaged the CEO and her direct reports through leadership development and advisory services to drive necessary organizational restructuring and position the team for strategic growth. We also provided embedded operational support to help the Board and CEO stabilize the organization, with a particular focus on the finance functions and infrastructure. We:
As a result of the engagement, the CEO significantly increased her leadership capabilities, particularly in the area of communication, vision-casting, decision-making, outcome-driven accountability, and prioritization. The organization has stabilized from a leadership and financial perspective. Today it has a full leadership team in place, is aligned around a new vision and strategy direction, and successfully secured additional funding in line with that strategy. We continue to provide ongoing advisory support for the CEO as she implements the strategy.
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