Our client was a Federal government department, which needed to undergo extensive organizational transformation based on a new mandate.
Schroeder & Schroeder, Inc., was commissioned to identify the changes necessary to enable this government department to effectively pursue its top level goals of achieving a better life for First Nations people and Northerners, and the eventual independence and autonomy of these communities, while also fulfilling its basic mandated responsibilities.
The main challenges we faced on this project included:
- Requirement uncertainty – the client relied heavily on us to help them decide how to implement their new mandate.
- Scale – this is a very large organization requiring a major transformation.
- Influence of emotional factors and power struggles – complex emotional factors as well as internal power struggles between central and regional offices complicated the transformation initiative.
- Resistance to change – the need to overcome significant resistance to the transformation among the groups involved.
- Differing and conflicting perspectives and interests – a need to deal with and reconcile the perspectives of groups with differing interests and different levels of thinking, as well as the inherent political aspects of the initiative.
- Tense situations – the project team was often confronted with difficult and stressful issues and situations, and we needed to skillfully guide them towards their goals.
- The importance of social change – there was a need to achieve a holistic transformation that brought about cultural and as well as social organizational changes.
The actions we took to address the challenges included:
- Holding discussions with all regional representatives and conducting focus groups to assess each region’s needs, capabilities, concerns, and visions for the organization as a whole.
- Surveying the existing processes and structures for communication and operations across the country, region by region.
- Clarifying the organizational mandate, identifying the underlying issues, barriers and problem areas.
- Diagnosing areas in which the organization was not aligned with its mandate.
- Identifying what needed to be done in order to get the organization on track to achieve its mandate and to ambitiously pursue its goals.
We applied a delicate balance of art and science skills to successfully overcome the project challenges, for example by:
- Combining qualitative interview-based data and quantitative survey-based data to provide a comprehensive and meaningful understanding of the issues relating to the client’s mandate and the organizational changes necessary to achieve its goals within this mandate.
- Applying a systematic and holistic approach to understand what was working and not working in the current organization, focusing on processes/technology, people, structure and culture.
- Conducting root case analysis and gap analysis to identify the specific reasons why changes were necessary and what would be required to achieve them.
- Developing results and recommendations relating to both individual regions and the organization as a whole, to facilitate and promote a coordinated and integrated approach to transformation.
- Ensuring that organizational leaders fully understood the different possible approaches to transformation and the challenges, resource requirements and likely benefits of each, and guiding them to the most appropriate and achievable solution.
- Using state-of-the-art project management, monitoring and quality assurance processes, to minimize all types of project risk and ensure the deliverables were completed on time and within budget.
Our actions resulted in:
- Much greater insight and understanding into the organization and its operations and culture, that was expected to prove useful for years to come.
- A highly successful transformation given the political context and situation facing the department and the complex issues surrounding the transformation project.
- The establishment of firm foundations for much needed organizational partnerships that would facilitate the achievement of the Department’s mandate and goals.
- Extensive clarification of roles and responsibilities within the organization that would contribute to more effective and efficient work towards its goals and help reduce internal conflicts.
We were able to achieve all the project objectives and add considerable value to this major government organization. The client was highly satisfied with the project outcomes and the services provided by Schroeder & Schroeder Inc.