In this executive advising success case study, Carm Moceri of Healthcare Alignment Solutions™, explains how he helped an organization’s board define the role of the board and the leadership team. With clear roles, the organization restructured their leadership and implemented their strategic plan while fostering a thriving and engaged culture.
So, I recall a situation in which I was brought in by a board chair and at the time, a part-time executive director of a non-profit organization that was a statewide organization. And they were struggling with a few things. They didn’t feel that they had a defined strategic direction even though they had a strategic plan. They didn’t fully understand the role of the board because they struggled between … is the board’s job to manage the organization? Or is the board’s job to set strategic direction with the senior leader? And then allow them to manage the organization while the board assured accountability for fulfillment of the strategic plan, the mission, vision, and values?
And then they had a management issue where they didn’t have a management structure in place that they thought they really could advance to fulfill their mission.
So they brought me in.
And what we agreed on was a series of work; that work was first, to define what the board structure is – and I’m very blessed in my career, that I’ve served on boards. I’ve been in leadership roles on boards. And I’ve been the board chair on several boards of non-profit organizations. So, again, I had the chance to experience what it’s like to be on a board and to be on committees of the board as well as be a leader within the board. So, the first thing we did was define what the boards roll – which again, was around – so this is advising and consulting – the first was to define what the board’s role is, which is setting strategic direction with the leader determining what the committees of the boards are, the structures, the bylaws of the board – what the role of the board is.
So, for example the board’s chair’s primary role is making the high-or-fire decisions of the senior executive and determining with the board, and the senior leader, the strategic direction of the organization. So, mission, vision, and values. Then turning the responsibility of managing the organization to fulfill a strategic plan that they all agree on, strategic direction, and then fulfill that through setting objectives and other things.
So, we define that.
We define the committee structure within the board and what those committee structures would do to support the board.
Next, we define a leadership structure and said, “if we understand strategically, where you’re going.”
So, we worked on the strategic direction of the organization. If we now know strategically, where you’re going, what is the management structure that needs to be put in place to help you fulfill that strategy.
So, it was the board’s role. Then, it was setting strategic direction. Then it was defining a leadership structure to support that.
After we got through that, we then established the direction from an operations perspective … What are the key things we need to do? What are the roles of leadership? Does everybody understand their role? And how can they all bring their skill sets together to help fulfill those objectives that they need to meet? How do they go out and change the culture of the organization?
So, again, … board, then strategic direction, management infrastructure, and leadership objectives … around how to fulfill those those desires of the organization. And finally then, cultural. Now, how do we transform the culture of the organization? How do we become an organization that gets away from typical command-and-control? And starts to set an organization a direction that allows those within the organization to start to take control of the environment. To start to seek input prior to making decisions. To start to engage the people that are closest to the work. Because they know the barriers to success. How do we make sure they understand that the fulfillment of of the experience? That people feel from them is going to come from them and not necessarily from the board?
Even though the board set direction, it allows them to take more control. And when people feel they have control of their environment, people feel that they can cultivate new ideas. When people feel that, they can be creative and innovative. And that then allows them to do some innovative things than then – as as Dr. Larry McEvoy says in his book, Epidemic Leadership” – “allow an idea to grow within an organization to make sure that they’re engaging the people in the long-term outcome of the organization.” You now have a workforce that’s culturally excited about the future.
And so, that work in consulting started with “We’re not sure we have the right direction. We’re not sure what the board’s role is. And we’re not sure we have the right management structure to ultimately go down all the way to cultural transformation that supports it.”
That initial work around “strategically, where do we think we need to go?” – and this wasn’t because I went in and said I have a cookie-cutter approach and we’re going to follow this approach, and we’re going to get it done – it was because I listened to what their needs were. I understood more about their culture. I walked through their organization. I understood some of the challenges they faced. Because I had experience in dealing with this in organizations that I was a team member in.
And now brought those experiences forward for them to develop a new strategic direction.
And they were able to put in a management structure, a strategy to grow their organization, and got wonderful feedback back from the board leadership that initially, when they started, they thought we were going to write a strategic plan. And what we actually did was change the cultural milieu of their organization to be successful.
And it was extremely rewarding work. And nobody lost their job in the process. They all evolved to roles to help them fulfill that mission, vision, and values. So, that’s consulting and advisory services.