As a leader, one of your most important responsibilities is to ensure that your organization is operating (1) within the rules and (2) at peak performance. Let’s consider the meaning of these guidelines.
Each organization is governed by an interwoven patchwork of laws, bylaws, policies, and ethics. Sometimes these things are connected; other times, they are seemingly disjointed. Sometimes they are overlooked, even when they are right in front of us.
Performance is measured differently in every organization. Often, it is informal and based on subjective benchmarks. For this reason, the stakeholders may not know what “peak performance” looks like.
An organizational assessment is a tool to help your organization focus on both of these responsibilities.
An organizational assessment can be useful to —
- ensure compliance with laws, bylaws, and policies
- benchmark against best practices of other organizations
- measure performance in contemplation of — or preparation for — a leadership change
A typical process would involve —
- reviewing documents, including bylaws, board minutes, financial reports, and policy and procedure manuals
- one or two days of onsite visitation, including interviews with management and key staff
- issuance of a comprehensive and detailed written report that assesses the organization’s compliance and internal controls, as well as providing key recommendations on governance accountability
- identification of opportunities to simplify processes and improve efficiency, often through cost-effective technology solutions
When you think about the problems of your organization, do you identify general issues shared by many organizations?
- “We need to raise more money”
An assessment will help you identify the basis for financial stress as well as how to relieve that stress.
- “We need more staff”
Throwing more people at a problem is often the wrong solution. Better solutions might include automation or streamlining your processes. An assessment can provide these answers.
It’s not difficult to identify self-assessment tools on the Internet; however, even the best organizations can benefit from the unbiased view of an independent, trained professional. Sometimes, outsiders can see things we miss because of our proximity and familiarity.
Would an assessment ensure that your organization is on the right path? Would it help you to refocus on the most important things? Could this be the key to your future success? Please share your thoughts.
Dan Weiss, founder and President of Counterpart CFO, leads a team of flexible, part-time CFO’s specializing in nonprofits. Organizational assessments are just one of the many services they provide. To read more from Dan, follow him on LinkedIn or subscribe to his blog at www.counterpartCFO.com.