Center for Community Change (CCC) is a living monument to Robert Kennedy’s vision and philosophy to alleviate poverty in the United States. Its mission is to build the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change their communities and public policies for the better A shift in strategy from being a technical assistance provider to local community organizations and an incubator of local projects to a movement builder for economic and social justice required reshaping programs, refocusing resources, redeploying staff, and restructuring the organization.
What we did
Organizational design: First, the Executive Director articulated a vision for the next phase of the organization’s life. It was clear that the vision had serious implications for the organization’s operations. We convened a Design Team that clarified the strategic vision, summarized the success factors that would express the vision in action; identified the unique characteristics of CCC that needed to be maintained; and determined the implications of the vision for the organization’s culture, processes, and staff.
After incorporating the feedback gathered from the rest of the organization, the Design Team developed a draft structure. Using further staff input to refine the structure, the Design Team also mapped associated changes in department functions, job descriptions, reporting relationships, internal coordination among departments and individuals, decision-making, accountability, communication and more.
As anyone who has tried reorganization knows, creating the map, while challenging, is relatively easy. The larger hurdle, and key test, is implementation. CCC leadership discussed the pending changes with staff and we facilitated a meeting in which departments discussed how they could support each other in the new configuration. Individuals and groups negotiated how to achieve mutual success.
The new structure created clear, transparent lines of authority and accountability throughout the organization where there had been murkiness or duplication before. People knew who to go to for answers and there was less conflict and confusion about who should be doing what. There was also greater coordination among individuals and departments. The Senior Management Team became smaller, which allowed for more efficient decision making. A new position, Chief of Staff, was established to support the functioning of the Senior Management Team and the externally focused role of the Executive Director.
I’ve known and worked with Heather Berthoud for the last five years. I know her to be an exceptional organizational development practitioner, with extraordinary wisdom, experience and integrity. She is an exceptional listener, thoughtful coach and a terrific facilitator. She played a key role in supporting the transformation of the Center for Community Change into a more effective, strategic, inclusive and powerful social change organization. Her work with the staff of the organization and with me -as a coach, facilitator, and strategic planner-played a key role in making these critical shifts in the internal and external aspects of the organization’s life.
Deepak Bharghava, Executive Director
Center for Community Change