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What’s Going on Around Here? Assessing Your Organization to Improve Performance

Executive Resource
Find out how an organizational assessment can help your business improve operational effectiveness and performance.
December 21, 2020

When some leaders hear the term “organizational assessment” they shudder, thinking of the worst of “the Bobs” from Office Space (what is it that you say you do here?). Conducted properly, transparently and collaboratively, however, an organizational assessment can pay huge dividends in improving operational effectiveness.

Maybe your district has a new superintendent or other key leadership changes. Perhaps it’s time to revisit your strategic plan. Or, your district is considering a reorganization of key functions. These are all good reasons to conduct an assessment to identify ways to improve the culture and operations of an entire district or selected departments.

An organizational assessment uses defined processes to obtain valid information about the district’s performance and the factors that affect that performance. An assessment targets three factors: people, process and technology, then takes a further look at the governance structure underlying those factors.

Recognize that an organizational assessment is neither an audit nor an investigation, however, through the collaborative effort you do find out things that people don’t always want to hear. Setting the ground rules for open and honest communication is an essential starting point.

Areas of Focus

There are different forms of organizational assessments, but most focus on these areas:

The Players

Sometimes a board or another oversight body will initiate an organizational assessment, but it can also be driven internally, reporting to a superintendent or CFO. Best practice also involves the internal audit function working in collaboration with the assessment team. Before you start an assessment, you need buy-in from the responsible decision-makers over each area or function being assessed.

An organizational assessment can be outsourced to an independent consultant, or can be conducted by assembling an in-house team. Regardless of the structure, when deciding who should conduct your organizational assessment, you should look for the following attributes: credibility, technical know-how, objectivity, communication skills, interpersonal skills and availability. All of these elements will be critical to the outcome.

Tools of the Trade

An assessment will include these tools and processes, many of which are also part of an internal audit:

Other tools used in the assessment might include a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, a KSA (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities) matrix and/or a maturity model. A simple maturity model can be used to assess your district’s current effectiveness and then determine what capabilities are needed to improve effectiveness.

Once the assessment is completed, you will have a much better understanding of where your district is healthy and which areas may be under stress. In thinking about ways to improve, you will need to assess not only what your district needs, but what changes it can tolerate. Ultimately, the assessment should provide the information you need to help your district achieve its most important goals.

For questions on the importance of your company’s organizational assessment, contact a Weaver professional today.

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