Greenhill Community Center Case Study Essay
The main purpose or mission of the Greenhill Community Center was to provide human service programs for learning, growth, and enrichment throughout life within an intergenerational setting. The mission seems to fill the need in the demographical setting of the location. The center is located in one of the poorest cities on the East Coast. In the textbook it states a mission as being “the reason an organization exists, and it must be the starting point for its planning. ” (Worth, p. 172) The mission of the center is very sound, but in the process of hiring a new director, I think the mission focus was lost.
I saw a couple of incidences of “mission creep“ in the reading. (Worth, p. 173) One being the focus the trustees put on not treating the staff as equals. The staff was not made aware of the hiring of the new director until after the transaction had taken place. The whole hiring process that the trustees executed created a lot of resentment from the staff. This kind of division can cause a lackadaisical atmosphere within an organization, and would put a strain on the focus of the mission. Another example of the “creep” would be when the director was called out by one of her subordinates in front of the sub-committee of personnel.
The music director did not like being considered part time and he created a situation in the meeting that was counterproductive to the agenda. These situations can cause disruption and can be harmful to the structural integrity of an organization. The board member’s responsibilities should consist of the hiring of the Executive Director, establishing the mission and purpose, approving the programs of the organization, ensuring financial management and stability, and establishing standards for organizational performance and its accountability. (Worth, p. 0-72) Failure to not comply with just one of these responsibilities could cause an organizational breakdown. There is a thirteen member board of trustees for the Community Center. Out of the thirteen members, more than half were inactive. The board saw their role as policy setters and overseers of the organization. The board wanted the new Executive Director to advance the organization in the future by turning the Center into more of a business-like operation instead of a family run business atmosphere.
Within this organizational structure, the Executive. Director’s role had more responsibilities than it should, while the board members role was very inept. Traditionally, the role of fundraising consists of the board providing their own gifts and actively engaging in the act. (Worth, p. 71) The fundraising attempts before the new Director arrived were done on an as-needed basis and then it only accrued for 20% of the annual funding. The lack of funding could lead to salaries not being paid and the budget not being balanced. The two most pressing issues that Greenhill Community Center Face are communication and fundraising.
The most important thing in organizational structure is communication. John Carver, created a governance model back in 1997, said there were four areas that policy development should be based on and maintained for a board to lead. One of the areas is Board-Staff relationships. Carter stated that to clearly address common concerns about board members evaluating the CEO is to communicate directly with the staff or volunteers within the organization. (Worth, p. 75) The relationship between the staff and board members of the Greenhill Community Center is strained and distant.
Fundraising is an integral part of funding a nonprofit. Most chartable nonprofits expect the board to play a significant role in providing and soliciting philanthropic funds. (Worth, p. 71) This organization has little or no support in these issues. In order for growth and the mission focus to stay on course, these need to be handled in a timely manner. Leslie’s strategic planning process is quick and precise. She does a great job of finding the issues and creating strategies to obtain the objectives set before her.
She is sending the message that she is going to do whatever it takes to get the organization back on the mission path. Leslie had to skip a couple of steps in the strategic planning process and go straight to Assessing the Situation. (Worth, p. 170) She came into an organization that was in disarray and she needed to gain control. Leslie’s actions and decisions added up to a plan that employs policy and direction setting. This approach suits Leslie because she changed policies on consistency in staffing and efforts in fundraising.
She also made decisions on the music program based on the SWOT analysis technique. (Worth, p. 175) The toddler program was making more revenue than the music program, and it needed a space in the Center. She developed a space for it by closing down the music program, which was a weakness. She decided to nurture the strengths of the toddler program instead of losing money with the weaker music program. The strategy that Leslie has implemented will work if she can gain support from the board and staff.
After reading the findings in the case study, I think she has successfully identified the major concerns and has taken the correct steps toward making the organization better. Worth says that “Strategic planning is a process that begins with where it wants to be, and develops a plan to get there, all in the context of its mission and values and realities of the environment it operates. ” (Worth, p. 168) Leslie came into the Greenhill Community Center and gave them the leadership and direction that it needed.
She created a plan based on the situations that she faced. One of the major obstacles that she is facing would be the board-staff relationship. The tension from the staff resentment and the board’s pressure for her to generate revenue with a lack of effort on their part could cause Leslie to stumble. Edith Weiner stated “the forgetting curve is much harder to ascend than the learning curve. ” (Maxwell, Lecture Notes, 2011) The organization has been operating the same way for years, and now Leslie has to change everything to accomplish what she was hired to do.
Leslie should stick to the plans that she has already set in place, and create a bond between the staff and the board. She should also try to be more diplomatic in her decision making, and not as direct and straightforward as she was in the past. To be an effective liaison to the board, it takes a leader that engages the members in planning and implementation, and also supports them. (Worth, p. 91) She needs to be more motivational to the staff and less operational. Managers should design work to reduce dissatisfiers and increase motivators in the environment of the workplace. (Worth, p. 192)