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About Our Consulting

The Office of Organizational Strategy and Change works in a variety of practice areas. In all our work, we emphasize an inclusive, consultative, and data-driven approach that incorporates multiple perspectives and voices into the design and implementation of change. We adopt an empathic, human-centered style to ensure that solutions fit the unique needs of our partner schools and units.

We first work closely with a project sponsor, or “client,” to determine the goals, scope, and timeline of an initiative. We then consult with the sponsor at key milestones throughout the project lifecycle, such as developing a data gathering plan, sharing key findings, and developing recommendations. We bring a flexible approach to meet the organizational needs of our diverse community.

Project Types

In our work, we strive to create an environment and infrastructure that enables every member of our Northwestern community to pursue their passions, do their best work, and optimally contribute to our collective mission of research, teaching, and service. Visit the below practice area pages to see examples of ongoing or recently completed work.

In Strategic Analysis, we collaborate with leaders to identity root causes of organizational issues and develop appropriate solutions. This could be an informal consultation or could take the form of a more structured process and engage multiple stakeholders. In all cases, we take a customized approach that centers our partners and stakeholders.

Project Types

  • Executive consultation
  • Identification of challenges and opportunities
  • Development of vision and strategy
  • Design of creative approaches and solutions

Project Examples

  • At the request of senior academic leader, developed a comprehensive plan to support faculty professional development for the entire intuition across the faculty lifecycle—from PhD students to emeritus faculty.
  • Partnered with new leader in Feinberg School of Medicine to develop strategic priorities for the department with overarching goal to be among the top in the nation. Engaged all relevant stakeholders in development and conducted benchmarking against peer intuitions to inform the strategic priorities.
  • Created a multi-year strategy and implementation plan for an academic unit to achieve a vision of revitalization. Achieved transformation of the unit both internally—through enhanced partnerships across academic and administrative units—and internationally with recognition as a leader in the field.
  • In Strategic Analysis, we collaborate with leaders to identity root causes of organizational issues and develop appropriate solutions. This could be an informal consultation or could take the form of a more structured process and engage multiple stakeholders. In all cases, we take a customized approach that centers our partners and stakeholders.

At its core, Organizational Effectiveness is the practice of improving the way work gets done. We examine people, processes, and systems to develop smarter, more productive, and healthier ways of working.

Project Types

  • Organizational assessment
  • Organizational design
  • Structure
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Process improvement
  • Culture change

Project Examples

  • Worked with multiple leaders across the University to consolidate three disparate study abroad offices into a single entity to better serve all Northwestern students seeking global experiences.
  • Partnered with new unit leader to restructure their organization to support new strategy. Assessed the current organization, proposed a new model aligned with the new strategy, and partnered with leader on all aspects of change implementation, including development of new roles, communications, training, and team building.
  • Convened school and central stakeholders to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of major restricted gift fund management. Developed comprehensive process maps documenting the lifecycles of restricted endowed and expendable funds—from gift cultivation through stewardship—with the goal of developing clear and transparent processes across multiple owners and to maximize spending of restricted funds.

Change Management acknowledges that organizational change really means changing the people of an organization. We apply structure and tools to help people understand, engage with, and ultimately adopt changes such as a new system, new organizational structure, or new process. Our framework is deliberately structured to create agency and voice for stakeholders impacted by changes.

Project Types

  • Stakeholder engagement and communications
  • Change adoption
  • Capability building
  • Project management

Project Examples

  • Partnered with Provost Office, EVP Division, and Office of Budget and Planning to comprehensively restructure the University’s annual budget process with goals of creating greater transparency and systematization of budgeting and resource allocation across the University’s schools and units. Managed all aspects of change management including sponsor engagement, stakeholder engagement, multi-pronged communications plan, and documenting process redesign. Integrated new process with other existing and evolving University processes. New processes increased school/unit adherence to process and budgetary controls, predictability of outcomes, and stakeholder understanding of and trust in the annual budgeting process.
  • Provided communications and engagement assessment and consultation related to an enterprise system implementation. Partnered with business owner and Northwestern IT to establish appropriate governance, actively engage impacted stakeholders in sustained way, advise on training needs and implementation, and develop communications plan and materials. Fostered change adoption through change readiness assessment, manager engagement and communication, and development and utilization of adoption metrics.

One-On-One Consultation

Are you seeking a brief consultation for a change initiative you are leading? OSC Staff Can Assist You With a One-On-One Consultation.

Contact Us to Request an Appointment

We bring Facilitation to large-scale initiatives such as taskforces and special committees, as well as smaller efforts related to change projects. We support all aspects of facilitation including design of the overall structure, ensuring appropriate representation, tracking project milestones, and ultimately driving to the desired results of the initiative.

Project Types

  • Large-scale initiative facilitation
  • Team retreat related to organizational change
  • Meeting facilitation

Project Examples

  • With Provost’s sponsorship, facilitated multi-year effort to enhance student support structures to ensure a more equitable experience for our low-income, first-generation, and marginalized students. Engaged diverse stakeholders: students, faculty, staff; academic affairs and student affairs; school and central constituents. Utilized a 1-day forum to coalesce divergent perspectives into three overarching priorities. Facilitated workgroups in each priority area to develop recommendations for the Provost. Continue to work with owners to implement and develop success metrics.
  • Facilitated a team retreat at the request of a new manager with the goals of establishing the new leader, team-building among her direct reports, and laying the groundwork for upcoming organizational enhancements.

Get in Touch With Us

Contact us to learn more about our consulting, programming, coaching or ask a question.

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