How We Work
Our approach draws from a variety of disciplines - notably design thinking, change management, organizational development, and systems engineering. We combine the practices we’ve found most effective to create an approach with a single focus: creating effective and sustainable operational change in mission-driven organizations.
Seek First to Understand
We begin by orienting to what makes your organization unique, what goals you’re trying to achieve, and what pain points you’re experiencing. We typically do this in a series of meetings - ideally in person - that introduce us to all of the stakeholders for this project. We are most effective when we can hear directly from everyone.
We like to observe work directly as much as possible - we’ll ask you to show us, teach us, give us your training materials, and let us watch you work where appropriate. This lets us notice things that are taken for granted by experienced staff and therefore often overlooked or unstated until it’s too late in the implementation process.
Try It Out And Assess The Results
Making the hundreds of tactical decisions required during implementation can be stressful or even paralyzing when you’re moving into the new and unknown. We help you assess and decide throughout the implementation, ensuring that decisions are aligned with your goals, mission, culture, and the long-term maintenance or management needs.
Once a tactical decision is made, we help you execute. We'll assist with planning, assess gaps in your internal toolkit and skillset for taking the necessary actions, and lend a hand where appropriate. Some of the places we can roll up our sleeves and pitch in are:
creating new process documents
drafting new policies in consultation with you
sitting in on governance meetings and helping you learn how to run them
hashing out improved measurements and metrics
managing vendors and providing testing and quality control
translating and brokering understanding and clarity between multiple subject matter experts
whatever else our skills and backgrounds allow, from HR to program design to technology
Keep Solving Problems Until It’s Right
Major changes require a process of incremental and iterative adjustments. We help you iterate so that you’re not just settling for something that will cost more to fix in the future or falls well short of your goals. Iterating and adjusting during implementation means you’re able to adapt and overcome an obstacle that might otherwise kill the project. It also lets you take advantage of unexpected opportunities that arise.
Co-Creation and Joint Learning
The Deep Why team are all driven to solve problems, but we are not a permanent part of your team. The solutions we implement together have to outlast us, or we consider the project a failure. That means we have to learn together how to best ensure ongoing success within your organization.
We help our clients set up new ways of working together that prioritize clarity, transparency, and shared ownership of the systems that we’re creating together. We work with you to construct ways of managing change that ensure a resilient and enduring success long after our engagement ends.
Our Foundational Toolkit
Everything we do is informed by a deep understanding of the different ways that organizations of all sizes combine processes, tools, and people to execute reliably on a strategy. We assess projects in the context of three core questions to craft change initiatives that are much more likely to succeed, be embraced, and be sustained.
Where are you in the organizational lifecycle? Early stage organizations are dealing with fundamentally different opportunities and stressors than later stage organizations. Understanding where you are and where you plan to go allows us to craft appropriate solutions that you can operationalize and sustain.
How aligned are your operations with your strategy? Duplicated work, burnout, confusion, and wasted time happen when day-to-day operations are not aligned with what’s being monitored and measured over time. We help you identify and correct the mis-alignments that are causing pain today, and set up structures to ensure you’re well equipped to maintain alignment while adapting to change over time.
What is your operational capacity now and after the changes are made? All organizations struggle to optimize their management of money, time, and energy to provide the best services possible. Implementing a major change initiative taxes all three of these aspects in unique ways. We help you understand your current capacity, the impact of a change on that capacity, and plan for your future capacity so that returns on your project investments are fully realized.