Life’s WORC is a Long Island based organization that provides comprehensive quality care enabling individuals with developmental disabilities (including the autism spectrum) to have independent and productive life experiences as members of their community. Founded in 1971, its annual revenues exceed $40 million.
Life’s WORC is facing a momentous change in its operating environment. The organization works under the auspices of New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), which is moving (as have similar offices in other states) from a traditional fee-for-service structure to a regional HMO-style organization which will dispense state funds—rather than paying agencies like Life’s WORC directly on a contract basis. This shift will profoundly alter, on a number of levels, the way that Life’s WORC functions.
To deal with this challenge, Life’s WORC recently completed a strategic plan. The organization engaged NESC (for the 13th time; they are a long-term client) to assess its present management strengths, staffing mix, funding sources, marketing and other support functions as well as organizational structure to assure that they are well positioned for the changes that are taking place.
Rather than addressing only the activities and functional areas of expressed interest, NESC Long Island Regional Director Bill McAndrews and NESC Consultant Sergio Sedita led Life’s WORC’s eight person senior management team (its “Cabinet”) through the entire NESC Organizational Assessment questionnaire. This process forced the team to view the organization more broadly and to focus on some issues that had not previously been considered.
“This is not a survey,” says Bill. “It gets people to think. It brings everybody to the table and generates solid conversation right off the bat. We have compiled a wealth of information; every meeting has provided a deeper understanding of the operational and organizational challenges faced by Life’s WORC.”
A memorandum summarizing these efforts stated “The overriding priority which needs to be addressed by the Organizational Assessment is to determine if systems are in place to measure resource allocation to ensure that these resources are not overtaxed, are being used effectively and permit Life’s WORC to maximize its opportunities and challenges…
“Under this ‘umbrella’ fall the following areas:
- Board Development
- Marketing, Branding and Public Relations
- Human Resources
- Program Development
A critical underlying theme is ‘communications’.”
NESC consultants have begun working on three of these topics with plans to conduct more than 25 interviews before completing their analysis and formulating recommendations.
Bill McAndrews is NESC Regional Director for Long Island. He has more than 20 years of experience in corporate marketing, finance and operations. He spent a decade as a Certified Business Education Teacher and Business Department Coordinator for the New York City Department of Education. He has managed his own strategy and business planning consulting firm. Bill is a graduate of Pace University and Brooklyn College.