Everyone wants to make a big impact when it comes to organizational effectiveness. After all, reaching your desired outcomes and goals in the most efficient way possible will ensure ongoing and sustainable organizational success, and success is one of the happy harbingers of personal satisfaction.

But organizational effectiveness can prove elusive — especially if one or more key areas are coming up short.gear-man

Not every organization measures its success in strict terms of dollars and cents lost or won. While it’s utilized most regularly within the non-profit sector as a means of reassuring donors and patrons as to the quality and quantity of charitable work being accomplished, concerns about measuring organizational effectiveness can be brought to bear in more traditional for-profit environments as well. Regardless of the business model that is employed, understanding the ins and outs of learning how to make an organization more effective doesn’t need to be impossible. Here are five essentials that make for smoother and more efficient sailing, whether you’re clothing orphans or seeking to build the next Apple.



In business, leadership can sometimes seem like a nebulous term that refers simply to whoever is in charge, but as most of us have experienced in the course of our working lives: Just because someone is in charge doesn’t mean that solid leadership is being provided. When it comes to organizational effectiveness, leadership refers to an organization’s goals, values and priorities and how clearly these are communicated to staff, customers, partners, boards, recipients, stockholders and donors.

The more specifically stated your goals and priorities are, the more effectively those goals will be embodied and lived out by you and your team. Leadership provides the means by which organizations can live up to what they are trying to be.



People and HR

In many ways, having the correct people with the right skill sets and temperaments in the right jobs within your organization has a lot to do with how effective your leadership is. Not everyone is cut out to do the same type of work, and knowing your staff well enough to identify each person’s strengths and weaknesses is essential, but it can also be a daunting task to take on. By utilizing the retargets and knowledge of your HR team, you can more readily ensure this area of organizational effectiveness is firing on all cylinders than if you attempted to go about the process yourself. In addition to ensuring your employees are managed well and working in the correct positions, your HR team can also provide insight in regards to business strategy, because they are the people experts within your organization.


Decision Making

Who makes decisions within your organization? Do you and your staff understand everyone’s roles and levels of accountability? One of the quickest ways to undermine organizational effectiveness is requiring every decision to pass through one person’s office.

Empower your people to make the decisions that are appropriate to executing their jobs effectively. It will free up your time and energy, and it will also increase stability and accountability within your organization.



It’s important to have some insight into the culture that currently operates within your organization if you want to hone that culture into one that is more effective. Is it a performance-oriented culture, or is it more intention-driven? Is it closed to new ideas and people, or does it maintain some flexibility and openness? When the market shifts, how you shifted with it? In what ways has your culture changed or stayed the same over the years? Does your culture work with or against your organization’s goals, aims and values? By honestly assessing the culture in which you and your staff do your work, you can begin to identify the places that need restructured, changed, revamped or removed.


Work Processes

Work of any kind is always performed through process, whether you’re making a sandwich or putting together a pitch. To increase your effectiveness, make sure your staff’s work processes are well-defined and that they have the tools and systems they need to accomplish those processes. Staff productivity can only be effectively increased if they have all the necessary tools and understand how to use those tools well.


Organizational effectiveness is more than just a buzzword that’s bandied about at non-profit conferences; it’s a way of structuring a workplace so that goals are met efficiently. Whether you hope to increase your organization’s effectiveness in order to please your board or further the reach of your good work, attending properly and attentively to these five areas will help get you there.