cascade center for community governance

Case Studies

Stewardship and Leadership:

Limited Resource Agency Becomes National Leader


A national government agency operating in the high demand Canadian human services arena was struggling to deliver services to meet growing demand for health care. The client wanted to identify how managers could handle existing and future challenges. The client leadership team was eager to provide development opportunities however, because of existing work cultures open discussion about leadership skill sets and selections, management development, and fostering a sense of stewardship supporting social capital had not occurred.

The Strategy:

Our team recognized that an updated shared vision and mission coupled with an organizational leadership review

] would be effective in setting a clear direction, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and helping under performers. Given the agency’s position and responsibilities, our team positioned the review as a “leadership development process,” with clear understanding the effort was to reposition the agency as the leader in providing public health services.

What we learned:

Working closely with the agency’s leadership team, our staff identified three areas of focus – clarifying leadership expectations, fostering new work cultures that include working collaboratively with other private and public agencies, and shifting to become a learning organization focused on outcomes.

The Result:

Within six months of operating, the agency reorganized top leadership positions to align with service priorities, implemented feedback loops between service units, launched five significant formal partnerships outside the agency that aligned resources, and began a yearlong leadership training program for all managers. As a result, leadership is a top priority and service delivery has increased 38% after one year.

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