Monday, July 13, 2009

Hierarchy of Change

I can't believe it has been a month since I have posted. Oh well. Such is life. A lot has happened in this month. I am writing this from our new office space, in various stages of construction/repair/cosmetic disarray. By the end of the week, I am hoping we are good to go.

In thinking about everything going on with my association, I wanted to post a few thoughts on change. When an association is going through changes, there are really 4 distinct areas of change. And I believe they fall within this hierarchy:

1. Mission/Vision
2. Strategy
3. Organization
4. Process

The one on top has to be done and set before the one below it. On a rare occasion you can do two of these at the same time, but it is rare. One begets the other starting at the top. The top 2 are really Board activities (with input from members and staff). The bottom 2 are Staff driven, primarily the ED.

This may seem very basic, but I have heard from folks and seen it myself that people are asked to change #3 and #4 before #1 and #2 are all set. All that means is that you will have to make changes again.

I am all for change. Change is good and necessary in many instances. Just go about it in the right order and you will save yourself a lot of headaches.


Jeffrey Cufaude said...


A nice basic framework. In my last consulting practice we had a similar one that included a bit more on timeframe and stakeholders involved in changing each.

My only thought would be that process (depending on how you define it) might actually be better changed by those closest to the work instead of the E.D. Senior leadership can certainly play a critical role in keeping the organization focused on continuous process improvement though.

Matt Baehr said...

Good call. Since I am a small staff ED, I am closest to a lot of processes. But I agree, you gotta get staff involved in them.