Situation: A NYC-based non-profit organization was growing rapidly—from 5 employees to 56 in less than one year. However, the extra staff didn’t alleviate the burden on the executive team, and in fact, decisions took longer than ever. Intervention: We realized that the new staff were unable to shoulder the operational and managerial load of daily work because there was a fundamental mismatch between their responsibility and their authority: although they were given responsibility for certain areas of operation, they didn’t have the power to make decisions. As a result, all decisions funneled up to the executive team, creating massive bottlenecks. We identified the common decisions that needed to be made in each role and defined financial parameters within which each person could make decisions without approval.

Resolution: The executive team was freed from weighing in on all decisions, staff morale increased significantly (according to internal surveys), and major initiatives in the following year were all launched on time.