When an agency is clear about what it wants, with whom it’s working and what is needed by those it serves, its leadership can determine how best to organize the agency in order to get the job done. There are many options for an organization’s structure -- by function, program, geography, type of children, youth or family served, or some combination of these. New or modified roles might be needed -- establishing a community partnership role or office, for example. Project-specific teams such as taskforces and working committees are also part of structure.
Many new agency leaders initially opt to change their organizational chart, but these changes typically fail to improve agency performance. Any agency structure will have both strengths and liabilities, so it’s essential for agency leaders to foster an effective leadership platform and agency culture so that whatever structure it employs is used to the best advantage. The principles and beliefs by which your agency’s leaders will operate define a shared language and philosophy for the agency as a whole. Cultures can be relatively authoritative or they can be relatively laissez-faire. Public child welfare work requires a strengths-base ,solutions-focused culture that is based on empowerment -- discretion and collaboration within well-defined boundaries.