Participant Guide

Module One: Organizational Development

This module is intended to develop and promote the understanding of assessing a public child welfare agency’s culture and climate. Learning is centered on how organizational culture and climate can support change and improvement over time. This module provides an opportunity for the learner to develop change strategies that improve near term outputs and long-term outcomes for children and families in the child welfare system.

Learning Objectives:

  • Knowledge: Understand the basics of assessment and diagnosis of agency culture and climate.
  • Skill: Perform informal and formal assessment of agency and external partnerships.
  • Attitude: Promote and practice continuous quality improvement.

Reading and Activities: 4 to 6 hours

Coaching: 3 hours

Segment #1: Organizational assessment for culture and climate

Reading: up to 2 hours

Coaching: 1 hour

Learning Objective

Director will understand the importance of conducting internal and external, formal, and informal organizational assessments to gain an understanding of the culture and climate of the organization.

Content

  • Organizational culture and climate consist of shared values, norms, attitudes, and perceptions that influence how people in an organization behave. An agency’s priorities, leadership commitments, and staff motivations reflect its culture and climate. For new programs and practices, an agency’s culture and climate may affect how people accept and support change.
  • Organizational culture refers to the shared behavioral expectations and norms in a work environment. This is the collective view of “the way work is done.”
  • Organizational climate represents staff perceptions of the impact of the work environment on the individual. This is the view of “how it feels” to work at the agency (i.e., supportive, stressful, punitive, innovative).
  • An agency’s culture and climate influence how child welfare staff at all levels do their work and how they feel about their work. Staff with the right skills and knowledge may not achieve an agency’s objectives if the culture discourages their appropriate use. For example, case workers may receive training on family engagement skills, but they may not apply those skills unless the agency culture also emphasizes, supports and rewards working in partnership with parents in meaningful ways. Further, if the climate causes staff to feel overwhelmed and unmotivated, they may not be ready for new initiatives and may resist changing responsibilities. Finally, organizational culture and climate can influence staff morale. Low morale can result in staff turnover, which in turn, can have a negative impact on agency functioning and service delivery to children and families.
  • The potential impact of organizational culture and climate on staff performance, retention, agency functioning, and ultimately outcomes for children and families underscores the importance of leadership attention to this area. Agencies interested in promoting innovation and change may need to look at how the organizational culture and climate is aligned with becoming a learning organization, that uses participatory decision-making, promotes flexibility, and continuous improvement.

Activities

  1. Review resources and identify if an organizational culture and climate assessment is necessary and if so identify a resource for this.
  2. Identify if a readiness assessment for implementation of a new mandate is necessary and if so, develop a plan for conducting the assessment.

Materials

  1. Comprehensive Organizational Health Assessment (COHA): Overview
  2. Organizational Health Assessment, Summary of Measures (2015) The Butler Institute
  3. California Core Practice Model Organizational Readiness Building Assessment and Planning tools--Snapshot
  4. Effectiveness Quick Guide for Teams (2009), American Public Human Services Association
  5. A Child Welfare Leader’s Desk Guide to Building a High Performing Agency (2015). Annie E. Casey Foundation
  6. Readiness Reflection Quick Tool and Readiness Assessment for Organizational Effectiveness/Continuous Improvement Work (2011 American Public Human Services Association).

Preparation for next segment

Read:

  • The Comprehensive Organizational Health Assessment, Summary of Measures from the Butler Institute
  • The Organizational Effectiveness Quick Guide for Teams (2009), American Public Human Services Association
  • The Continuous Quality Improvement Toolkit from the Child Welfare Information Gateway

Segment #2: Understanding and using organizational data for organizational change

Reading and Activities: up to 2 hours

Coaching: 1 hour

Learning Objective

Director will understand the importance of using organizational data to assess current organizational status. Director will understand and gain knowledge about continuous quality improvement (CQI) and how this process can be used to improve organizational effectiveness.

Content

  • Organizational effectiveness is a systemic approach to continuously improving an organization’s performance, capacity to change and client outcomes. “Systemic” refers to taking into account an entire system or an entire organization; “systematic” refers to taking a step-by-step approach. In simple terms, organizational effectiveness is a step-by-step approach to continuously improving an entire organization.
  • APHSA has found that to improve organizational effectiveness, you must Define the priority improvements in operational terms; Assess observable, measurable strengths and gaps; Plan quick wins, mid-term, and longer-term improvements; Implement action plans while managing communication and capacity; and Monitor progress, impact, and lessons learned, impact for accountability and ongoing adjustments.
  • This is referred to as the DAPIM model: Define, Assess, Plan, Implement and Monitor.
  • Organizations experienced in DAPIM use it to continuously improve everything they do. No matter how big or small. At any given time, an organization may be engaged in a multi-year “big DAPIM” to make fundamental improvements to practice while simultaneously running multiple “little DAPIM’s” to eliminate inefficient processes, respond to unexpected shifts in the environment, overcome obstacles, etc.
  • To understand the current state of the organization, the areas in which performance is good, where efficiencies are in place and working well, where performance is not good and where improvements in practice and process are needed the director must collect, review, and discuss the organizational data on a regular basis. Understanding the organizational data around policies, protocols, and practice is key to knowing how effective an organization is in improving outcomes. What is the relationship between practice and disproportionate and disparate outcomes for BIPOC families?
  • ASPHA has developed the Organizational Effectiveness Quick Guide for Teams which contains user friendly tools and templates to help teams plan for and drive continuous improvement. The tools and templates used most frequently by work teams include:
    1. Continuous Improvement Plan Template
    2. Tracking Quick Wins Tool
    3. Chartering Teams Template
    4. Communication Plan Template
    5. Capacity Building Guide
    6. Team Activities to Address Areas of Particular Challenge
    7. Logic Models
      (2009 American Public Human Services Association).

Activities

  1. Complete an inventory of what types of tools and/or templates are currently used in the organization’s structure and processes.
  2. Review the organization’s current CSFR case review process and dissemination of findings and determine what actions are occurring because of the case reviews.
  3. Do worksheet with 3 scenarios on “Setting the stage for Organizational Health-My Role In Creating Organizational Culture and Climate for Change”

Materials

  1. Ten Drivers of Sustainable Implementation (APHSA, Phil Basso, 7,7,11)
  2. Case Review Instructions and Resources, California Department of Social Services
  3. Child and Family Service Reviews Fact Sheet, Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families
  4. Setting the Stage for Organizational Health

Preparation for next module

  • Draft list of organizational assessment tools currently being used for discussion with coach.
  • Think about existing meetings or groups that could potentially serve as an Implementation Team.
  • Think about potential initiatives that can be used in a mapping process
  • Use the “Setting the Stage....” responses as material in the next coaching session

Segment #3: The nuts and bolts of change management and project management

Reading and Activities: up to 2 hours

Coaching: 1 hour

Learning Objective

  • Director will learn about change management and project management through exposure to various tools, i.e., logic model, project plan, implementation plan.
  • Director will understand the importance of an implementation team to guide change management efforts.
  • Director will learn to use mapping exercises to assist in integrating the work of the organization.

Content

  • Much of the work that needs to be done in child welfare requires knowledge of change management and the need to use a process that allows for the following: an assessment of the current environment or issue, a description of the desired change, an assessment of the current resources and what additional resources are necessary, an organized process for moving the change forward and a process for monitoring and measuring the change with an allowance for retooling if necessary.
  • It is important when beginning a new job as a child welfare director or beginning to implement a new initiative/project that one begins with an exercise that looks at what work is currently being done within the organization, assessing what is being achieved and where improvement is needed. If a new project is starting, assess whether the new work is aligned with and can be integrated into the current work being done. To accomplish this, a leader can consider working with their leadership team to complete a mapping exercise. The mapping exercise will provide a picture of what the organization is currently doing and assist in determining whether activities are aligned and/or if they are duplicative.
  • Once a mapping exercise is completed it can serve to inform the leadership team about which current structures exist that may best serve as an implementation team for all future implementation efforts. As the organization moves various initiatives forward, the implementation team serves as the main vehicle for identifying issues that need troubleshooting or additional resources. The implementation team should consist of leadership that is able to address the issues identified.
  • The implementation team can provide the oversight necessary to each of the separate efforts while also having a mechanism to share information across all efforts in the organization.

Activities

  1. Director will identify an existing project or a new project/initiative to begin applying the models/tools/templates to for implementation.
  2. Director will conduct a mapping exercise with their management/leadership team.
  3. Director will assess current organizational teams and meetings that operate within the organization that can serve as an implementation team for all agency efforts.

Materials

  1. Drivers of Sustainable Implementation (APHSA, Phil Basso, 7,7,11)
  2. Effectiveness Quick Guide for Teams (2009), American Public Human Services Association
  3. Core Practice Model Mapping Tools & Logic Model Templates

Preparation for next module

Review your professional development plan and prepare to review with your coach.

Resources

Pre reading/review:

National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, Change & the Roles People Play

National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, Get on the Balcony eLearning

National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, Organizational Culture and Retention

National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, Organizational Environment

National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, Organizational Leadership

National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, Three Tools to Guide Change Efforts

Continuous Quality Improvement Toolkit, Child Welfare Information Gateway, Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families

Segment #1:

Comprehensive Organizational Health Assessment (COHA): Overview

Organizational Health Assessment, Summary of Measures (2015) The Butler Institute

California Core Practice Model Organizational Readiness Building Assessment and Planning tools--Snapshot

Effectiveness Quick Guide for Teams (2009), American Public Human Services Association

A Child Welfare Leader’s Desk Guide to Building a High Performing Agency (2015). Annie E. Casey Foundation

Readiness Reflection Quick Tool and Readiness Assessment for Organizational Effectiveness/Continuous Improvement Work (2011 American Public Human Services Association).

Segment #2:

Ten Drivers of Sustainable Implementation (APHSA, Phil Basso, 7,7,11)

Review Instructions and Resources, California Department of Social Services

Child and Family Service Reviews Fact Sheet, Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families

Setting the Stage for Organizational Health

Segment #3:

California Core Practice Model Mapping Tools

Other Resources:

Center for States Continuous Quality Improvement Course

Program, Practice, and Service Effectiveness, Child Welfare Information Gateway, Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families

Schein, E.H. (2010). Organizational Culture and Leadership (Vol. 2). John Wiley & Sons. What are the Mechanisms to Create a Positive Organizational Climate.

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