Posts in Operational Layers
Operational Layers: Strategy and Ecosystem

Your strategy - the problem you’re trying to solve, who you’re solving it for, and why - shapes every decision that happens in your organization. Clarity of what the organization does and does not do, and commitment to that clarity, are required to ensure that the daily activities can be performed well and managed for quality over time.

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Case Study: Community Cares Risks Mission Drift as Services Expand

In this case, we’ll consider the (fictional) nonprofit Community Cares, an organization that was built thirty years ago, originally by a group of parents to address the needs of its community. The organization thrived with its early energy, grew professional leadership and developed a strong reputation; after ten years it really had momentum! As the community changed, the organization expanded what it offered, from youth development and enrichment at first, to a broad array of services …

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Operational Layers: Operating Model

Your operating model is the set of guidelines and expectations that allow you to monitor and manage day-to-day execution. The operating model defines what processes are needed to get the job done, but not exactly how those processes are performed. It tells you what role in your organization has decision-making power over a process, who is in charge of making sure that process is performed well, and exactly how they will know the process is doing what it should. In short, it’s a map or a plan that lets the organization stay healthy over time.

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Case Study: College Success In-Sight Dives Head-First into Logic Models

In this case, we’ll consider the (fictional) organization College Success In-Sight, an organization that helps high school students prepare for, apply to, and succeed during college. Several years ago, its leadership began focusing on logic models, which had been widely promoted by funders, consulting firms, and thought leaders…

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Operational Layers: Operating System

Service organizations rely on people to follow processes that result in mission fulfillment. These processes are supported by technology and tools that help get the job done. The capacity of an organization is the ability of all people at the organization to execute consistently, and well. These elements — people, processes, technology and tools, and capacity management — make up the operating system.

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Case Study: Patients at Healthy Lives Associates Experience Disruption

In this case we’ll consider a health care clinic, Healthy Lives Associates, founded to provide access to high-quality care in a suburban community. Over time, it built a strong reputation for its internal medicine and pediatric departments and families asked for more specialized services, in the interest of easily accessible high-quality care for a broader range of health needs. The organization expanded slowly and thoughtfully, in line with a comprehensive strategy and operating model…

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