by Tristan Cross , Susan Garriety , Jamie Robinson

Challenge

Despite three restructures in three years, the regional marketing and communications department of a large healthcare organization was still struggling to meet its customers' needs. An internal survey rated its work high in importance, but far lower in capabilities. Staff were unhappy with the direction of the department, which had fallen into a common trap of squeezing as much capacity as possible out of existing resources in an attempt to meet growing demand. Adding to the challenge was a 75 percent turnover in the organization's leadership team, with only interim leaders in some key positions. Our client engaged Point B to lead an organizational assessment of the department and deliver a strategy for meaningful change.

Our deep-dive assessment

We assembled a Point B team of experts in marketing, organizational effectiveness, project leadership and healthcare to tailor an assessment to our client's unique environment. The model we used focused on 12 key factors of organizational effectiveness. We collected relevant data from our client, interviewed department staff, and facilitated sessions with each of its functional groups to assess group dynamics, perceptions and processes. Having engaged diverse stakeholders throughout the assessment, we were able to quickly gain buy-in from departmental leaders on our findings.

A strategy for effectiveness

Point B led a vision mapping exercise with department leadership to identify quick wins and explore solutions beyond current capabilities. We identified seven strategic themes and 25 SMART objectives ("Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Realistic and Time-based") to deliver greater organizational effectiveness. Having revealed gaps in processes, workflow and performance management accountability, we prioritized closing these gaps in our discussions about organizational redesign. Finally, we linked each objective to a scorecard factor that makes it easy for leadership to track improvements as the strategy is implemented department wide.

People make the change

Our assessment of the department revealed an understandable hypersensitivity to change that could not be ignored. Given that the change we proposed was transformational in nature, we worked with staff and leadership to make sure these changes had the support to succeed. We kept employees updated, encouraged leaders to have open conversations, and provided an oversight framework to keep stakeholders informed on the project's success. The marketing and communications department now has the strategy—and, just as important, the support—to provide greater value to its staff and customers.