- Are my shareholders’ best interests reflected in how we govern the organization?
- I’m a new CEO, how can I structure the organization to align with my business vision?
- We need strategic partners to succeed: what is the best way to manage these relationships?
- We’ve developed a unique service offering – should we manage it in-house or spin it out?
- Do we have the right corporate structure based on our mandate?
- How do I gain greater clarity in accountabilities, roles and responsibilities across my leadership team?
- Have we organized our people in the best way to operate the business?
- Is there a better way to structure the organization to reduce headcount and operational costs?
Formally, organizational governance consists of the people, processes and structure that control how an organization is managed and operated.
At the crux of it, the leaders of the organization need to be able to define:
- How the organization’s owners and funders exercise control over the organization; and,
- How the organization will be led and structured to enable its people to effectively work together and deliver on its mandate.
Therefore, in our view, organizational governance is synonymous with leadership, as represented by the decisions, actions, and behaviours leaders make to govern, lead, inspire, and operate the organization. And ultimately, an organization’s governance model and structure must be deliberately designed to execute and achieve its selected strategies, goals and objectives.
Organizational Design and Implementation
Often organizational design is thought of as lines and boxes showing who reports to who. But those lines can also determine how people interact every day, define and influence processes, and affect the organization’s culture. Ultimately, it impacts whether or not the organization’s strategies will be realized.
Stack’d can assist your leadership team with an independent, third party review to evaluate and design your organizational structure so that:
- It better enables the achievement of your organization’s strategic objectives;
- Provides clarity in leadership accountabilities and the roles and responsibilities of the team;
- It identifies which capabilities need to be improved, added or outsourced;
- The structure is ‘right sized’ for your organization and it reduces operational inefficiencies; and,
- You have a plan on how to transition and manage the organizational change associated with making changes to your organization’s structure.
Governance Model Reviews and Development
A well-defined governance model clarifies the respective roles and responsibilities not just between shareholders, the Board, and Management, but also all legally bound operating entities associated with the organization. The governance model needs to consider how decisions will be made, how participating shareholders’ interests will be represented, and how the governing body will oversee and steer the organization.
Stack’d can assist your organization review and define an appropriate governance model that aligns with your strategic direction, mandate and organizational maturity.
Funding Strategy Assessment and Design
Funding strategy extends beyond making sure the money coming in is more than the money going out. It can be very complex in the public sector, particularly for organizations with a high level of capital intensity (e.g. utilities). A deliberate strategy is required to achieve a sustainable and resilient balance between the sources of funds versus their specific uses.
With particular expertise in the public sector, Stack’d is well versed in the various financial vehicles available and can help you assess and design your strategy to ensure ongoing operational and infrastructure sustainability.
Illustrative examples of our results with clients include:
Health Care Provider
Our client wished to evolve its current organization to create separate, independent divisions that would realize the growth opportunities that existed for their respective services and markets. The goal was to create more competitive, entrepreneurial and growth-oriented organizations that:
- fostered and maintained a distinctly nimble, innovative, and competitive culture;
- was clearly distinct from the current organization with well-defined roles and relationships;
- established effective, efficient supporting services that could scale gracefully; and,
- could operate within funding constraints with a sustained, healthy financial profile.
Stack’d was engaged to assist the executive to assess, define and recommend the new organization’s Board governance, organizational structure, and operational model and define a multi-year transition plan to create more independent and entrepreneurial organizations. In addition, Stack’d assisted the resulting organization’s leadership team in the detailed design of the functional groups, including the assessment of service delivery options, helping determine whether to outsource, centralize or decentralize each function.
Throughout the project the CEO provided accolades and expressed that his expectations were exceeded in terms of both quality and level of detail provided in the deliverables. As a result, the client has now established the new organization, its leadership team, and is in the midst of executing the transition plan to become a more independent, growth-oriented organization.
Municipality and Wholly-Owned Utility
An Alberta municipality had previously established a wholly-owned utility as a municipally-controlled corporation. Since forming the Utility as a corporation, the municipality had been challenged with providing it appropriate guidance as part of reviewing the annual rate applications.
Stack’d was engaged to assist the municipality by reviewing the current situation and establishing a go-forward mandate and rate regulatory framework. The Stack’d team worked closely with the municipality’s Mayor, Council, CAO and the Utility’s Board of Directors and CEO to develop, review and confirm the project’s deliverables. A new mandate was established which provided the desired scope and direction for the Utility to pursue a financially sustainable suite of regulated versus non-regulated services. In addition, an updated regulatory framework was established which addressed rate-making mechanisms and processes, and defined the role of the municipality as both shareholder and rate regulator.
The newly appointed President and CEO for a respected post-secondary institution wanted a new organizational structure for the senior executive team and administrative aspects of the institution that aligned with the existing strategic plan and improved the allocation of roles and responsibilities across functional areas.
Stack’d interviewed the organization’s senior leaders to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current structure and to understand the strategic intent of the organization. Based on this understanding, a capability model and three alternative structures were developed to be evaluated by senior leadership. Through a facilitated session, a preferred organizational structure was selected and a multi-year plan developed to guide the activities to transition to the preferred organizational structure.
The new organizational structure was successfully implemented along with the appointment of three new strategic leaders. Based on the quality of work of the first engagement, Stack’d was subsequently engaged by the institution to define a new organizational structure for each of the academic schools.
Municipal School Board
A municipal school board engaged Stack’d to assist with the development of a new organizational structure to merge their long-term planning function with their facilities maintenance function.
Through a defined stakeholder engagement approach, input was received from both internal and external stakeholders from across the district to identify improvements to both organizational structure and operating processes, including the planning, building, modernization and maintenance of facilities for the School Board. Based on this understanding, a capability model and three alternative organizational structures were developed to be evaluated by the leadership team of the two functions. A preferred structure was selected and a two year transition plan developed to guide the activities required to transition to the preferred organizational structure.
The school board is currently in the process of hiring the new leader for the group and implementing the transition plan.
A polytechnic organization with approximately 26,000 students engaged Stack’d to review the operations and structure of their purchasing and distribution functions.
Stack’d performed a comprehensive review of both of the purchasing and distribution functions through a structured approach that included stakeholder consultation. This consultation was composed of both interviews and focus groups with key customers and staff, and helped develop a clear picture of the current state and identify what was required for the future. In addition, external research was performed to identify leading practices in similar polytechnics and more importantly, assess their relevance to the organization. Sessions with a core project team were then held to confirm findings, develop the future direction for the organization, and create a future-state organizational structure. Finally, a comprehensive implementation plan was developed to direct the go-forward efforts of the institution.
The project sponsor expressed strong appreciation for the work performed by Stack’d and the quality of the deliverables.
Municipal Public Library
The recently appointed CEO of a municipal library consisting of approximately 20 branches desired a review of the organizational structure in an effort to better align it with the library’s future strategy.
Stack’d conducted a high level review of the strategy and current organizational structure to determine whether the two were aligned. The results of the review prompted the development of a capability model and alternative organizational structures. A preferred structure was selected and an implementation plan developed through a combination of facilitated sessions with the executive team and meetings with the CEO.
The selected structure and associated transition plan has positioned the organization to achieve its strategy. The CEO expressed her appreciation for the work of the Stack’d team.
Environmental Engineering Firm
After a period of rapid growth from 150 to 500 consultants in a period of two and half years, the CEO of an environmental engineering firm wanted to define a new corporate organizational structure to better govern and manage the business and to support future growth.
Through a series of workshops, we helped the senior executive validate and refine the firm’s strategic direction. Based on this validated strategic direction, a capability model and three alternative structures were developed to be evaluated by senior leadership. Through a facilitated session, a preferred organizational structure was selected and a multi-year plan developed to guide the activities to transition to the preferred organizational structure.
The new organizational structure was successfully implemented. Based on the quality of work of the first engagement, Stack’d was subsequently engaged by the organization to develop the organizational structure for the ‘operations’ side of the business.