Organizational Change

Resolve organization-wide challenges with focused and comprehensive strategies that tap reservoirs of energy and release potential.

The case

In times of change, the successful approaches of the past may need to be updated or revamped. Organizational growth, increased competition, demographic changes, or new opportunities, programs, strategies, or vision, can all create the need to rethink “how we do things.” This is even truer as the US, and the world, verges on redefining ourselves. Organizations may need to resolve distance between vision and operations, discord among departments, or a vague sense that “we could be achieving more”-whether in working in coalitions, engaging members, or resolving conflict. The opportunity exists to transform tension into energy and creativity for the organization’s next chapter.

Berthoud Consulting approach in action

We emphasize learning through doing so that clients are developing and cementing skills while pursuing change. Together we

  • Clarify short-term and long term desired outcomes. Identify the underlying values and other factors that drive the need for change. Develop a clear vision of the organization after change is achieved.
  • Convene representatives of the key participants in the change-decision-makers, recipients, and beneficiaries. Identify the multiple perspectives, needs, hopes, and concerns that need to be addressed in the change process.
  • Assess the organization as it is now and identify levers for change.
  • Identify the procedures, behaviors, and skills needed by various elements of the organization. Develop plans to sequence the change. Design and provide opportunities for stakeholders to build the new habits needed and “try on” change.
  • Provide the tools for coping with the emotional challenges that change can produce.
  • Conduct ongoing and final assessment to cement the lessons learned.

For example, see Client Spotlight: Advocates for Youth and Client Spotlight: Sierra Club


Change sticks! Organizations create consistency between vision, strategy and the day-to-day behaviors needed to achieve the goals. When people are more fully conscious of what to do and how to do it, they understand how individuals and units contribute to success. Changes can range from improved decision-making processes, to clearer measurement of results along with more energy and creativity focused on the organization’s goals.

Using the very same “provocative propositions” you helped us develop as part of the appreciate inquiry process five years ago, we did an organizational assessment of how far we have come as an organization in realizing those best practices. We graded out pretty well and I was stunned by the “shelf life” of those categories and statements. They were as relevant and comprehensive now as they were then. I think that is a tribute to the long-term impact your work in ’99 has had on Advocates and on my own leadership of this organization.

Organizational culture is now at the center rather than the periphery of our consciousness. We see the connections between a healthy, creative, flexible culture and the program and policy outcomes of Advocates’ work. The commitment we made to transparency and the sharing of information has been the mainstay of our survival during an adversarial economic and political climate. In addition, the integration of young people into our staff, board, and volunteer network has become our very niche in the field. Quite a list of accomplishments five years out from the work.

I am very proud of this progress and know that we would have never started this journey without your vision, direction, and spirit.

Again, just wanted you to know that the work lives on!

All the best
James Wagoner
President Advocates for Youth

See also

Organizational Change through Diffusion of Innovation

OD is Diversity: Differences are at the Heart of the Field