When and Why?
My Healthy Organization is ideal for organizations that are:
- Launching or completing strategic planning and wanting to take a comprehensive look at organizational performance
- Planning for a leadership transition, or experiencing a funding loss or gain and needing to figure out what to keep, build on or change.
- Seeing a changed political landscape or your community, but your organization hasn’t figured out what to do with this new reality.
My Healthy Organization can be used as a “check-up” at any stage in an organization’s development but is especially useful when doing strategic planning, or when an organization is poised to grow or has made a transition. In all cases, the assessment helps bring leadership, staff, board and core members to a common understanding about the group’s strengths and capacity-building needs.
Q) Is there a “right” time to conduct an assessment like this?
A) Given the demanding pace of social change work, it may never feel like the “right” time to take a holistic and long-term look at organizational effectiveness. But for groups committed to ongoing learning and improvement, we believe it is essential that time and resources be carved out for reflection and assessment processes and the goal setting that emerges from them.
Q) How do we know if our organization is ready?
A) Answering these four questions will help you decide if your organization is ready to do an assessment:
1. Do you have a designated leadership team who will cheerlead this process, keep up the momentum, and make the process relevant to the group’s efforts to strengthen itself? An effective team would consist of one or two lead staff who can shepherd the process and engage board and staff.
These people will help make the case for why this process is important and relevant; point people to the resources they may need; troubleshoot and connect people to the MHO administrator for technical support; and support the process overall.
2. Will you take the time to do this well? As a general rule, each participant needs to allocate about 45 minutes to learn about and complete the assessment. There is no maximum to the number of participants and it is best to involve as many people as possible to get the full range of perspectives and insights about the group’s practices. Overall, the leadership team should plan on the assessment taking concentrated attention over one to three months for six steps in the process: preparation and orientation, coordinating survey participants, analyzing results, presenting reports, discussing implications, and defining next steps.
3. Timing: Is your organization embarking on a more ambitious agenda? Are you facing a transition? Are you doing strategic planning? The My Healthy Organization process can be a useful tool during developmental moments in the life cycle of an organization. The assessment can help bring everyone up to speed on elements in the group they may be less familiar with; create a collective space to identify priorities, key strategic issues, or challenges; and set a logical plan of action. The findings can establish a common understanding of strengths, dynamics, and areas needing particular attention.
4. Is your organization about to experience some significant change? The assessment process can be useful during these periods — if the organization is creating or changing key staff positions, or considering restructuring or headed towards significant expansion, contraction, or a possible merger with another group.