Child Trends, a non-profit, non-partisan research center that provides information and insights on the well-being of children and youth, needed a more flexible organizational structure to enhance collaboration, encourage employee development, and position the organization for growth. Lisa Karlisch of Sparkfire Strategy was hired to refine goals and objectives, determine a restructuring plan, and establish resource sharing practices. And, all this was to be done without damaging the organization’s existing culture of collegiality and professional autonomy.
Lisa began by conducting stakeholder interviews and focus groups to develop an understanding of strengths and weaknesses of the current organizational model. Using her knowledge of organizational development, Lisa implemented an organization redesign that encouraged sharing of knowledge, collaboration across content areas, and more efficient use of resources. She also identified a number of infrastructure investments that would position Child Trends for sustainable growth.
In the end, Lisa established a delicate balance of creating change while maintaining the positives of the organization’s culture. She helped Child Trends evolve without losing what was vital to their culture. Today, Child Trends is able to attract more senior researchers who bring in new business and raise profile of the organization; to retain employees, both researchers and support staff; and to grow 10-15% each year in an environment where competitors are contracting.