In the last 25 years Caritas Czech Republic has gone through an impressive transformation. From being a small and unexperienced national organisation; today the organisation is serving more than 90,000 people across the country and is present in 29 countries across the globe.
Growing and developing is very important. But it can also become a burden more than an asset if management and organisational needs are not adapting to these changes.
Caritas Czech is facing that situation. “Today, Caritas Czech, as the association of diocesan Caritas, provides a wide range of social and health care services in the Czech Republic; along with running and supporting several development and humanitarian aid programmes in 29 countries. These figures have been improving along the years. But our organisational and management development did not follow;” tells Pavla Müllerová, Responsible for the Common Management Standards (CMS) and the Caritas Development Fund (CDF) at Caritas Czech Republic.
Caritas Czech’s management understands that improving organisational skills helps to continue raising the quality and efficiency of services delivered to the poor. Therefore they have decided to embark in the organisational development opportunity that Caritas Europa is offering to all its members mainly via the CDF.
The idea is quite basic. First you learn to know yourself; then you make a plan to improve; and finally you get financial support to implement your plan. To achieve the first two steps, Caritas Europa promotes the use of 2 very specific tools. The Self-Assessment tool and the Problem & Solution Tree Analysis.
How did Caritas Czech go with implementing these tools? “Preparations are important. We discussed thoroughly about how to do the exercises. We wanted the process to be participatory for our own network and office. But also to make the management strongly feel that they owned the process;” says Pavla Müllerová.
The self-assessment exercise was done in 4 rounds; including a round with the governance in network (mainly diocesan Caritas directors); a round for the management in the national office; a third round with the employees serving in national programmes; and a final round with those involved in programmes overseas.
The rounds took place in March and April 2014. And because the exercise was open so broadly within Caritas Czech internal network, the meetings produced an impressive amount of inputs that were very important to feed into the Problem & Solution Tree exercise.
Caritas Europa introduced the use of Problem & Solution Tree exercise in the frame of CDF during an Organisational Development workshop in March 2014. With the learnings from that training still in mind, Secretary General, Jakub Líčka and the heads of the six departments of Caritas Czech national office met to discuss the findings of the self-assessment and analyse them following the Problem Tree technique.
“Caritas Europa OD seminar inspired us to prepare this session. We decided that it should be a workshop. The choice of venue was also important. We wanted a place that motivates the group to think out of the box and speak freely. We chose to do it in our Training Centre Marianeum. And it was a real hit! Management was very open and the discussions were so successful that we needed to organise a 2nd workshop to go through the solution part of the analysis,” said Pavla Müllerová.
Caritas Czech Republic has now presented a 3-year organisational development plan to apply for CDF support. There are 3 main objectives in this plan. Firstly and the most important is developing a 3-year Strategic Plan. Then we will gather all existing HR documents and add missing parts to develop a Human Resources Manual, which should include Caritas Czech Republic’s Code of Ethics as well. The objective is to have all employees acquainted with the manual by the end of 2015. The last objective aims to improve our financial planning.
"Going through this process and tools has helped Caritas Czech to be ready to move on and offer better services to the people in need. “It helped us to find and openly discuss our Achilles’ heel. With CMS we learned how a transparent, responsible and flourishing Caritas organisation should act. And now with CDF, we will make it real!” said Jakub Líčka, Secretary General of Caritas Czech Republic.
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