Apply Modeling and Measurements to Track and Improve Capacity
OLB 7002, Assignment 7
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Michael J. Kranzusch
24 September 2017
Organizations of all varieties are interested in increasing organizational capacity, and interest in and attention to the idea of “organizational capacity” has steadily increased in recent decades (Carrigan, 2011). Every organization exists for a unique purpose, and organizational capacity has to do with how well or poorly an organization is fulfilling its purpose (Carrigan, 2011). This paper, therefore, is a look at applying modeling and measurements to track and increase the organizational capacity of Columbus Christian Academy. Steps and methodologies have been gathered from current literature on the subject and applied to our organization in its context.
Develop a Vision
Mitchell Brown, an associate professor of political science at Auburn University, lays out the framework for how organizations can begin to examine and increase their capacity for production. She says that the “first step in laying the groundwork for establishing organizational capacity is the ability to develop a vision or legacy” (Brown, 2012). Furthermore, she suggests that “appropriate planning, evaluation, and commitment of key allies” can ensure sustainability and increase organizational capacity. These steps will provide the framework for analysis of Columbus Christian Academy and our present capacity and ability to increase organizational capacity going forward.
In these initial steps, Columbus Christian Academy has established an organizational vision. This vision is to provide the highest quality, affordable Christian education to families in Columbus County, North Carolina. Public schools in Columbus County are consistently ranked among the lowest in the state for standardized test scores, and thus Columbus Christian Academy exists as not only a private alternative to public education, but also exists to instill Christian values in the children and families who attend.
As this relates to organizational capacity, we need to create a metric by which we can assess how well we are or are not fulfilling that vision in our current state. Are our faculty all aiming at that same target? Is our curriculum fulfilling that vision? How well do parents of our students understand our vision? These measures of modeling may well lead us to the next metric: assessing our internal organizational health.
In interviewing Ann Hammond, Executive Director of the Lexington (KY) Public Library, Carrigan (2011) illuminated the need for organizations to be internally healthy and focused before they can shift their focus and resources to their community and its needs. As measurements are created and put in place to track our vision fulfillment, the first area of assessment will likely be our internal health. For example, are our physical resources aligned to vision fulfillment? On what is our money being spent, and is there a better and healthier way to spend our money?
As a non-profit organization, the only outside funding sources are those which we pursue. Therefore, it may behoove us to “pitch” our vision to outside funding sources, highlighting the strides we have made in recent years as well as our pathways for the future. We could show them how their investment in Columbus Christian Academy will reap rewards by allowing us to make some much needed internal changes – such as hiring more specialized staff or upgrading existing technologies – which will benefit our community. There are certainly internal areas where improvements could be made, and making those improvements will not only increase our existing capacity, but also strategically shift our focus to the community and their surrounding needs. As this has paid dividends for the Lexington Public Library (Carrigan, 2011), it will likely do the same for us.
Policies to Prioritize Needs
Altendorfer (2015) studied the impact that organizational policies on prioritizing and meeting needs has on organizational capacity. When policies exist which allow the organization to systematically and objectively focus on meeting higher priority needs, the ability to respond appropriately improves as does the efficient use of resources. Inevitably, the result of such policies is an increase in organizational capacity. Like Altendorfer, Preston (2015) also examined the effects of a standardized, systematic methodology on organizational capacity. Preston concluded that organizations who develop and implement a systematic analysis of their capabilities will see “critical resources and capital used more effectively to reduce operating costs and improve delivery performance”.
Columbus Christian Academy has no modeling, measurement or policies which outline those needs that are high, medium or low priority. There are presently no systems in place which align needs that must be met to vision fulfillment, and thus much organizational capacity is either underutilized or neglected entirely. Consequently, each need is weighted equally and valuable resources and energy are expended on needs which are not contributing to our mission and vision; everything for us is “triage”.
We must spend the time necessary to create systems which assign weight and values to our organizational priorities. For example, it must be a priority for us to increasingly invest in resources which prepare our high school students for college or training to enter into the workforce. This may require hiring a “counselor” who specifically focuses on serving as a liaison between our schools and others, or who can individually evaluate the needs of students and align their present classes with future goals. However, until this is identified as a high priority to the organization, it will continue to be treated with the same urgency as minor discipline problems in the classroom.
Once this and other organizational priorities are created, they can be included in material which is presented to the faculty and staff and accountability groups can be created to ensure that not only are these priorities being emphasized from the school board, but also amongst the staff with one another in existing relationships. These priorities should be placed within a shared drive which all the staff can access and update, and which the administration and school board have access to. This not only fosters accountability but also encouragement to those who are going “above and beyond” to meet these organizational priorities.
Hill (2016) wrote of the potential impact of technology on evaluating and increasing organizational capacity. Technology has developed to such a degree, Hill suggests, that capacity evaluation and planning can produce greater results than a traditional expert. “Automated predictive analytics can help you gain a competitive advantage by maintaining a balance between cost and performance”.
Once these other developments are in place – a vision, internal health, and the codifying of organizational priorities – a matrix can be developed which can not only provide present analysis of capacity but also provide future goal achievement based upon the current rate of goal completion. Technology is an area in which we need to invest more heavily, and the investment of such analytical software can and should be a priority for our present board and administration. Such technology should be employed to provide detailed and extremely precise data to the leaders of the organization which will allow them not only to analyze current capacity goals, but also to make adjustments in the present to allow for maximizing capacity in the future. In accomplishing this goal, an “ad hoc” committee should be formed and appointed by the school board to investigate such software employed in other schools. A recommendation should be made to the board regarding software purchase and implementation, with the stated goal of utilizing such technology to measure and track organizational capacity.
Cropley (2013) studied the idea of “organizational ingenuity” and its impact on organizational capacity. When organizations “have a map that identifies where the obstacles lie and when they are likely to occur”, their potential for organizational capacity increases. The creation of such a map for Columbus Christian Academy would be the result of vision refinement, defining of organizational priorities with timetables, and implementation of technology to provide predictive analytics on organizational capacity. When each of these strategies is utilized by the organization, a much clearer picture of obstacles and expected hurdles within a reasonable timeframe is likely to occur.
Columbus Christian Academy needs to take a dedicated planning weekend or retreat in which the creation of this map is accomplished. This map would not only provide a helpful structure in which to work to increase organizational capacity, but it would also get the creative juices of board members flowing which likely will positively contribute to “organizational ingenuity”. The fruit of such labor over an intensive weekend should be re-visited regularly to ensure that not only does such a map stay current and updated, but also that such organizational ingenuity is refreshed periodically.
Presently, there are no model or measurements in place for Columbus Christian Academy to track or increase organizational capacity. The potential is there for the implementation of every element discussed above, but nothing exists currently which serves as such a model or measuring stick.
It is my strong suspicion that much potential capacity is being grossly underutilized and much energy is being consumed on “non-priority” items. If priorities have not been defined by organizational leaders, then it would not be unreasonable to assume that this is the case. Perhaps there exists someone who is a subject matter expert in this field and who could help us get these models and measurements in place. It would be a wise investment for Columbus Christian Academy to hire a consultant to expedite this process and begin reaping the benefits of such work as quickly as possible. Once this is accomplished and agreed upon models or measurements are in place and regularly applied throughout the organization, we have every reason to believe that not only would we have a clearer and more accurate picture of our organizational capacity, but that we would being to see it increase as such models and measurements are used and analyzed at all levels.
Altendorfer, A. & Minner, S. (2015). “Influence of order acceptance policies on optimal capacity investment with stochastic customer required lead times”. European Journal of Operational Research, 243, 555-565. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
Brown, M. (2012). “Enhancing and Measuring Organizational Capacity: Assessing the Results of U.S. Department of Justice Rural Pilot Program Evaluation”. Public Administration Review, 72(4), 506-515. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
Carrigan, D.P. (2011). “Organizational Capacity and the Public Library: Featuring an Interview with Lexington (KY) Public Library Executive Director Ann Hammond”. Public Libraries, 54(3), 24-30. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
Cropley, D.H., Cropley, A.J., Chiera, B.A., & Kaufman, J.C. (2013). “Diagnosing Organizational Innovation: Measuring the Capacity for Innovation”. Creativity Research Journal, 25(4), 388-396. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
Hill, J. TeamQuest. (2016). How to Do Capacity Planning. Clear Lake, Iowa.
Preston, J. (2015). “Capacity analysis for better batch processing”. Industrial Engineer, 47(12), 36-40. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
NG, LR, NCU, USAR
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