Case Study: Aligning Structure to Strategy

Challenge:

A local governmental agency serving a community of 90,000 needed
to adapt to meet the demands of a growing organization

Organization Size:

Large, $175,000,000 budget (2,300 employees)

Industry:

Education

Aligning Structure to Strategy

Situation: A 20-year-old school district, which consistently ranked top in the state academically, was faced with the challenge of rapid growth. This growth had overwhelmed the existing processes within the district, and for the first time, the district’s growing pains were beginning to affect employee satisfaction, longevity, and communication. The fear was that academic performance would be affected next. The district had already enlisted a consulting group to assist with development of a new strategy. MBEC was contracted by the district to look at the organization’s structure and processes and to make recommendations that would align the structure and processes to the new strategy.

Process:

The MBEC Difference

MBEC worked with a successful 20-year-old school district to restructure the organization to facilitate, and enable, implementation of a new vision and strategy to address rapid growth.

  1. Management Interviews: MBEC met individually with the three senior management team members (the Cabinet) to better understand the current structure of the school district and their views on the nature of the system’s growth problems. Interview questions addressed leadership, roles and responsibilities, decision-making, processes, structure, and culture.
  2. Staff Interviews: MBEC also interviewed a cross-section of 25 staff members representing all major aspects of the district. The interview process was the same as that used for the management team. A systematic review of the interviews identified areas that were in need of being addressed, modified, or changed.
  3. Research: In addition to interviews, MBEC conducted extensive research to better understand the issues facing the district and to identify best practices to consider for making changes. This research included:
    1. Exit Interviews: To better understand how employees regard the district, MBEC reviewed more than 119 exit interviews of employees with voluntary terminations over a two-year span.
    2. Existing Job Descriptions: To better understand communication and process gaps or overlaps, MBEC reviewed all management job descriptions.
    3. Review Branding and Strategy Initiative: To make certain that any new structural recommendations aligned to the new strategy, MBEC reviewed the strategy documents created by the firm hired to develop the district’s new strategy.
    4. Executive Meeting Observations: To best understand processes and communication among management team members, MBEC sat in on several management meetings.
    5. Other District Structures: To provide the best recommendations regarding the organization’s structure, MBEC reviewed the organizational structure of more than 25 districts similar to that of the host district.

Outcome: As a result of the extensive management and staff interviews and the equally extensive research, MBEC made recommendations to the district management. These recommendations included:

  1. Restructure the organization to facilitate, and enable, implementation of the new vision and strategy.
  2. Restructure the senior leadership team (the Cabinet) to address significant and strategic organizational issues.
  3. Create a sub-Cabinet team to increase organizational effectiveness.
  4. Create Functional Centers of Excellence to achieve the organization’s commitment to excellence.
  5. Require leadership training for all management-level team members.

The management team is currently in the process of determining a timetable to implement the MBEC recommendations.