facebookLinked In

Becoming a Multi-Site Operation: Strategic Growth and Development

I recently had the opportunity to partner with a prominent non-profit organization headquartered in our local community. In efforts to honor and protect confidentiality, I will simply refer to this organization as “Nonprofit”. Our goal was to identify key strategies that would support their long term growth and development objectives.


Almost a century ago, Nonprofit founded its roots in NE Ohio and began heavily investing into its communities. In the past decade particularly, they have experienced significant growth and expect to more than double that growth by year 2020. In order to broaden their demographic profile and geographical outreach, they have been required to establish additional facilities throughout the NE Ohio region. Currently, they have launched three additional facilities and preparing for six more over the next five years.

Strategic Review and Objectives

Nonprofit’s headquarters (and main establishment) has developed a successful business model which has produced excellent results since their origin. They currently encompass approximately 3500 immediate stakeholders. A significant component to their success has been attributed to the strong leadership from various individuals that have been a part of the organizations long term development. The key focus of this project was to identify how Nonprofit would continue to grow business operations with a newly established associate base that would predominantly be unfamiliar with the organizations operational systems and fundamental ways of doing things. Our key objectives would be to identify best practices required in their strategic efforts to launch six additional facilities. In addition, we would need to identify strategic avenues to implement Nonprofits DNA across all facilities in a systematic and sustainable way.

Scope of Work

As this project presented a fairly typical Organizational Development (OD) intervention opportunity, we utilized a traditional Action Research Model to structure our process.

Project Analysis

We began our journey by meeting with the top executives responsible for casting vision and implementing the organizations immediate and long term objectives. I t was during these meetings where we were educated on the details of Nonprofits journey specifically over the last five years and their projected positioning by year 2020. They shared many of the growing pains they’ve endured throughout their most recent growth and identified future challenges they anticipated as they pursued additional facilities and staff. In addition to learning of the company’s history and future goals, we became acquainted with the organizational structure and key individuals involved in leading company objectives. Before the meeting concluded, we had a clear understanding of the client’s needs and expectations. In addition, we agreed upon the process we would utilize to initiate a proper assessment of the organization and in return provide strategic deliverables that would support their organizational goals.

Internal Analysis

The next phase of the research incorporated in-depth conversations and interviews of various stakeholders that have been a part of the organizations history and those that served a significant role in leading various aspects of the company during their most recent growth of the new facilities. Our goal was three fold. It was very clear that Nonprofit had a lot of things going for them. To say they had become successful was an understatement. Like that of a Positive Deviance Model, we felt it was crucial to learn more about what they were doing right. As they continued to move forward, we would want to identify and encourage their strengths and unique practices. In addition, this would be pivotal in capturing the “DNA” of Nonprofit. Another component we wanted to identify was the area where Nonprofit found significant challenges. Our goal was to understand what created these challenges and understand various perspectives on how they may have been avoided. Finally, we wanted to learn how others envisioned the future and the various ways that individually and collectively they could help the organization reach its future development goals.

External Analysis (Benchmarking)

After we completed our internal assessment, we then began an external assessment to learn of other industry leaders who have similar business models and have succeeded at accomplishing the development goals that Nonprofit also aims to achieve. As what is typically found, we were able to connect with a few significant leaders of the industry who were more than happy to speak with us – desiring not only for the success of their own entities but the success of the industry as a whole. During our interviews, we were provided some amazing stories. We learned of various strategies that had significant results and others that did not. The conversations we had externally brought incredible insight that would provide potential opportunities for our client to consider.

Data Review and Analysis

By this point in the project, we had accumulated an extensive amount of data. In this last phase of our research, we did a thorough analysis to have a clear understanding of our most consistent and key findings. We were able to identify what was truly recognized as the organizations strengths and unique qualities. We were also able to understand many of the challenges that had taken place and how it had created a barrier to reaching their desired results and created disconnect and frustration within their organizations culture. Finally, we were able to establish some significant next step recommendations of best practices to be considered for the development of their future facilities and key avenues in implementing Nonprofits DNA across all channels.

Key Findings

One of the most exciting components of working with Nonprofit was learning how much each and every stakeholder truly loved being a part of this organization and the deep passion they had for supporting the overall mission. Some of their key identified strengths were:

The area’s where they encountered challenges were identified in their strategic operations that will ultimately aid in their growth and development. Some of these key findings were:

The successful components of this organization created the opportunity for its continued growth and development. However, the challenges were creating a negative burden on the organizations culture and creating a lot of inefficiencies in the overall operations.


Next Steps and Implementation

Once we had completed our organizational assessments and discovered the most effective strategies to support Nonprofits identified objectives, we established some key initiatives that would support their continued growth. First we provided specific guideline on how each initiative would be developed and implemented within the organization. We then established a partnership with Nonprofits Human Resource department where we would be able to provide monthly coaching and consulting services to support their continued development. With this arrangement, we were able to provide our expertise in the field of OD, however, the organization was empowered to carry out their initiatives internally, providing a more sustainable long term outcome.