National Membership Organization: Review of Internal Systems and Efficiencies


This national organization supports its membership of higher education institutions through a wide variety of programs and activities. The approximately 600 employees build alliances and provide ongoing services to the organization’s members and other related parties.


A new Vice President of an operational group tasked a selected Review of Internal Systems and Efficiencies (RISE) team to evaluate the internal operations and systems of the department from “A to Z,” with a focus on improving communication, embedding innovation within the department, improving efficiency, and driving toward cross-functional teams. This intradepartmental RISE team of seven employees was given a six-week window to accomplish this charge. They knew they needed to move quickly to create actionable recommendations for the new VP, but they also needed an outside facilitator who would serve as the catalyst toward success.


The Springboard team and the RISE team collaborated to review the results of a departmental survey, internal interviews, and a summary from recent campus visits that helped identify issues and challenges. The Springboard team then facilitated a four-day intensive session with the RISE team during which the group mapped the “as is” state for the department and then considered both internal and external stakeholder perspectives. Once the team completed the mapping, they identified specific “chokepoints” or areas of improvement across the department, and then captured 46 actionable recommendations that they presented to the VP at the end of the week.


The charge was successfully completed – the team identified operational and system challenges and identified opportunities to improve efficiencies within the department, they developed controls into their processes, and they now promote innovation as an expectation within the department. Within two weeks, the department had already begun implementing the changes.

The RISE team chair stated, “We, as a department, had nonspecific, generalized feelings that there were efficiencies but no one could get their arms around them. The Springboard team guided us through this process quickly and we now know how to improve our department’s operations.” A Director within the department added, “I will admit in the beginning of the week I was not confident that we were going to achieve our charge, and I truly experienced frustration. However, [the Springboard facilitators] remained open-minded and listened to our needs as a department. I was amazed at the collaboration and the final product. For the first time in two decades, we have a firm handle on where the efficiencies are and how to go about attacking them.”