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Areas of Expertise

The Breckenridge Institute® is a management consulting firm that helps leaders and managers transform their organizations and the people in them. The Institute uses its expertise in the areas listed below to help leaders and managers become catalysts for positive change and organizational transformation:

  • Developing Strategy
  • Improving Execution and Operations
  • Consolidation and Transformation
  • Organizational Assessments
  • Using IT Infrastructure as a Catalyst for Transformation
  • Financial and Budget Analysis
  • Optimizing Performance in Compliance Environments
  • Changing Organizational Culture
  • Organization Development
  • Personality and Career Assessments
  • Leadership Development
  • Improving Communications and Trust
  • Trusted Advisor and Executive Coaching
  • Meeting and Process Facilitation

The Breckenridge Institute® has extensive experience working within the Department of Energy (DOE) complex, and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) nuclear weapons complex (Nuclear Security Enterprise) in the areas of organization development, organizational transformation, and organizational culture. A more detailed description of the Institute’s areas of expertise is described below.

Developing Strategy

The Breckenridge Institute® helps organizations take a strategic (100,000 foot elevation) view of the business environment and their internal operations as part of defining (or redefining) an organization’s purpose, direction, strategy, sources of revenue, goals, and budget allocations. The results of the strategy development process are codified into a written strategic plan that is deployed through well-defined departmental operating plans and budgets that flow down to the goals and objectives of managers and their departments. The Institute staff helps clients develop an enterprise-wide array of key performance indicators that focuses the time and energy of the entire organization on a common direction and set of goals that help ensure that managers only budget for (and commit resources to) things that help the organization achieve its overall goals and objectives. We also work with managers to create a sense of urgency about the importance of aligning the day-to-day decision-making of execution and operations with the organization’s strategic direction and goals.

Improving Execution and Operations

The Institute helps clients develop action-oriented, fact-based decision-making skills that more effectively direct week-to-week and month-to-month operations, and only support decisions and actions that implement and accelerate achieving the organization’s overall goals and objectives. We help department managers learn how to achieve their goals and pursue excellence, without optimizing the performance of their department and unintentionally sub-optimizing the performance of other departments, functions, or the overall organization. Business process improvement and increased productivity projects are planned and implemented with the goal of improving the performance of the overall organization, not just an individual department or functional “silo.” The Institute staff also helps managers to increase the level of trust between departments and to improve the effectiveness of inter-departmental communications so key business information is shared and the left-hand knows what the right-hand is doing.

Consolidation and Transformation

In a world of increasing stakeholder expectations and decreasing resources, many organizations are finding ways to do more with less by consolidating and transforming departments, functions, business processes, IT infrastructure, and entire organizations. The Breckenridge Institute® helps clients develop consolidation and transformation strategies that address both the change and transition elements of successful transformation. The goal of change is to align the structures, systems, and resources of a department, function, business process, IT system, or entire organization around a new purpose and set of goals that improves performance, decreases costs, and increases the value delivered to the organization’s customers. Transition is a protracted cultural, psychological, and behavioral process that individual managers and staff members go through to learn new ways-of-working, let go of the old organizational reality and identity that they had before the change took place, and to gain ownership in (and come to terms with) their new role in the reconfigured organization. Extensive field experience has shown the importance of managing both change and transition throughout the entire consolidation and transformation process.

Organizational Assessments

The Breckenridge Institute® conducts a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative organizational assessments to provide clients with an objective third-party perspective on the performance of departments, functional units, business systems, or an entire organization. Organizational assessments are typically used to help managers: a) obtain quantitative and qualitative data to make informed, fact-based decisions before, during, and after an organizational transformation initiative, b) set a new direction, define a new strategy, or conduct strategic planning, c) improve plateaued or declining organizational performance, d) improve execution and day-to-day operations, e) optimize and improve performance in compliance environments, f) perform independent management reviews of functions, organizational units, or projects, g) conduct independent financial and budget analysis that aligns resources with mission, strategy, and goals, h) improve communication and trust between departments and the manager’s who lead them, and/or i) characterize and change their organization’s climate or culture.

Using IT Infrastructure as a Catalyst for Transformation

We help clients use information technology (IT) as a catalyst for organizational and behavioral transformation to improve, replace, or reconfigure the structures and systems of departments, functions, business processes, or an entire organization around goals and objectives that improve performance, decrease costs, and increase the value delivered to customers. Using IT as a catalyst for change is especially important in organizational cultures where “people are the process” for achieving goals and objectives, rather than well-defined structures and systems, and where managers tend to focus on the special causes of variation, higher costs, inefficiencies, and performance problems as being attributable to individual managers and work-groups, rather than the common causes in the organization’s structures, systems, and culture. Our team of OD and technical professionals works with clients to: a) evaluate the performance of key IT infrastructure systems that are barriers to positive change, b) identify IT solutions that improve organizational performance, reduce costs, simplify overly complex and fragmented processes and act as a catalyst for transformation, and c) more effectively navigate the behavioral, psychological, and cultural process that managers and staff members go through to learn new ways-of-working.

Financial and Budget Analysis

The single most important part of evaluating an organization’s performance and culture is gaining a clear understanding of: a) the nature, viability, and sustainability of its revenue and/or funding streams, and b) the tacit, unquestioned, taken-for-granted patterns of spending and accounting; attitudes toward generating revenue and accumulating debt; the underlying philosophy that an organization has about the allocation of (and investment in) financial, physical, and human resources through its budgeting process. The Breckenridge Institute® helps organizations align their financial, material, and human resources to achieve their overall goals starting with the organization’s Chart of Accounts through its budget categories, and ultimately to its profitability, net revenue, and/or the amount of management fee earned. We help clients ensure that their accounting, budgeting, and reporting systems are transparent (so the underlying assumptions are clearly defined and understood), and that variance analysis is routinely conducting in an objective, introspective, and meaningful way. We also help organizations evaluate the extent to which the consequences for positive (or negative) financial or managerial variance are rewarding (or discouraging) the desired behaviors and helping the organization to achieve its overall goals and objectives.

Optimizing Performance in Compliance Environments

Compliance with laws, standards, and directives for environmental, safety, health, and quality are a fact of life in agencies like the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), but there are many ways to “interpret” how these requirements get implemented within the context of a given organization’s day-to-day operations and contractual agreements. The Breckenridge Institute® helps organizations optimize their performance by evaluating the extent to which their implementation of requirements is based on: a) “thinking compliance” and risk that meet the intent of a requirement, rather than b) non-value-added “compliance for compliance sake” that does not improve the effectiveness of environmental, safety, health, and quality programs. We also help organizations evaluate the extent to which their environmental, safety, health, and quality programs are woven into the fabric of departmental and line-level managers’ operating philosophies, how they do business, and what managers hold their direct reports accountable for. We help clients understand the extent to which responsibility for environmental, safety, health, and quality is viewed as a line-management responsibility in their organization, rather than being seen as the responsibility of the safety or quality departments.

Changing Organizational Culture

The process of culture formation has many things in common with the formation of personality. In terms of personality formation, by the time we’re old enough to know that we have a personality we’ve had no hand in fashioning it. In much the same way, an organization’s culture is like its personality and many managers wake up one day and find themselves with structures, systems, and a culture that they have not consciously chosen; in business relationships that may not be in their best interest; with assumptions about generating revenue, patterns of spending, and accumulating debt that they have not agreed on; with employees who are not matched to the organization’s human capital needs; and pursuing objectives and goals that don’t produce the desired financial and non-financial results. An Intended Culture™ is consciously configured to achieve an organization’s desired results; e.g., its mission, strategy, and goals. An Unintended Culture™ tends to be riddled with ineffective autopilot operations and Invisible Bureaucracy™ that derail, frustrate, and undermine organizational performance. The Breckenridge Institute® helps organizations develop an Intended Culture that’s a powerful resource for effectively performing day-to-day operations on autopilot; e.g., effectively and seamlessly without thinking about them. When done effectively, autopilot operations can be your greatest ally because they increase your ability to compete and achieve your goals. But in most cases the autopilot operations that typify an Unintended Culture are self-defeating because they perpetuate problems with work performance, communication, interpersonal conflict, and decision-making and then derail attempts to create positive change. The Institute’s staff helps managers learn to: a) identify ineffective autopilot operations, b) take them off autopilot by increased awareness of the results they’re producing, c) reconfigure them to align with the organization’s mission, strategy, and goals, and d) migrate them back to autopilot operations that produce the desired results.

Organization Development

Organization development (OD) is a body of knowledge and discipline that consists of various models, theories, techniques, and kinds of intervention that the Breckenridge Institute® uses to help leaders and managers transform their organizations and the people in them. The quantitative and qualitative methodologies that Breckenridge Institute® uses are based on the very best research conducted at business schools and in the fields of applied behavioral sciences, anthropology, sociology, and social psychology. The Breckenridge Institute’s staff of technical and business professionals combines its extensive expertise in organization development with the Institute’s portfolio of research-based methodologies and validated assessment tools to help leaders and managers become catalysts for positive change and organizational transformation. The Institute has specific expertise in the areas of: developing strategy; improving execution and operations; consolidation and integration; organizational assessments; financial and budget analysis; optimizing performance in compliance environments; changing organizational culture; personality and career assessments; leadership development; improving communications and trust; training, mentoring, and coaching; and meeting and process facilitation.

Personality and Career Assessments

Organizations are collective-cultural entities that are led, managed, and changed one person at a time. The Breckenridge Institute® uses a portfolio of psychometrically validated assessment tools and qualitative methods to help identify key elements of managers’ personality profile, management and leadership styles, level of self-awareness and self-control, communication style, career preferences and areas to avoid, job-fit, decision-making style, and potential blind spots that create decision-making bias and predictable errors in judgment about strategic and tactical issues. These data are indicators of a manager’s openness to feedback, change, the cultural and psychological issues associated with organizational transformation, and their ability to succeed professionally in current or future positions especially when they’re under stress. The Institute’s portfolio of personality and career assessments can also be used as part of the process of changing organizational culture, leadership development, and improving communications and trust between departments and the people who lead them.

Leadership Development

The Breckenridge Institute® helps managers build competency in four interdependent dimensions of leadership that include: a) expertise, experience, and wisdom, b) problem solving ability, c) personality, core beliefs and values, and d) awareness of self and others. These four dimensions of leadership are an interdependent set of competencies, skills, and characteristics that enable leaders to bring people together; to get them to work together effectively; to align them around a common purpose, goals, and objectives; to get them to co-operate and rely on each other; and to trust one another. The generic attributes of the four dimensions of leadership and the actual role that a leader plays day-to-day, do not occur in a vacuum, but are embedded within specific historical contexts, business situations, and the organizational structures, systems, and culture within which the leader is embedded. The Institute helps managers learn and internalize the four dimensions of leadership within the real life situations and challenges they face day-to-day in their organization.

Improving Communication and Trust

The individual managers on management teams often have differing (or opposing) perspectives, interests, and concerns about day-to-day operations because the results they’re being held accountable for are not aligned to achieve the overall organization’s goals; and achieving “their”department’s results is the primary focus of their time, energy, and commitment. These managers often function like “Border Guards” who protect the boundaries of their organization’s “silo” and what they see as “their” human, material, and financial resources, rather than seeing them as organizational resources for achieving enterprise-wide goals and objectives. The Breckenridge Institute® helps organizations improve communication and trust by: a) aligning the results that managers are held accountable for around enterprise-wide goals, b) identifying the extent to which the organizational dynamics between departments and the “personalities” of managers are constructive or destructive, c) improving the effectiveness of communication through meaningful dialogue that creates a shared understanding about the organization’s overall direction and operating philosophy, and d) developing a culture of trust by practicing “fair process”; making and keeping organizational commitments; basing evaluations of people and issues on facts and quantitative data, not personalities or “politics”; and having a deep commitment to establishing organizational truth (what’s really going on in the organization), so people are free to present the unvarnished truth about organizational matters.

Trusted Advisor and Executive Coaching

The Breckenridge Institute® uses its expertise, reliability, insight into the business and people sides of work-place performance, research-based methodologies and solutions, independent third-party perspective, and commitment to integrity and transparency to build the kind of trust needed to be a Trusted Advisor and Executive Coach for clients. The advisory and coaching process is tailored to the specific needs of clients, and can focus on: a) key organizational issues that frustrate and undermine performance, effective communication and trust, and a positive work environment and culture, or b) key leadership or management competencies needed to move managers and their organizations to the next level of performance, or beyond a performance-impasse. The deliverable for the advisory and coaching process is the creation of a relationship within which the client improves their ability to self-identify and self-correct problems that frustrate, undermine, and derail organizational and individual performance. The essence of this relationship is captured by the saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Meeting and Process Facilitation

Facilitation is a core tool and methodology in the Breckenridge Institute’s areas of expertise because it uses dialogue, meaningful conversation, a respect for differences and effective patterns-of-interaction and group-dynamics as a foundation for high-performance. More specifically, we help clients set goals, identify problems, explore viable options and alternatives, and develop appropriate plans for action. We use a variety of tools and methods for data gathering, analysis, scenario development, dialogue, meaningful conversation, and evaluation of alternatives. This includes multidisciplinary work sessions with stakeholders to clearly identify issues, resolve problems, develop solutions, and build consensus for a path forward.

For more information on how the Breckenridge Institute® can help your organization e-mail us at info@breckenridgeinstitute.com. The Breckenridge Institute® is a member of the Association of Test Publishers (APT) and the Energy Facility Contractors Group (EFCOG). The Breckenridge Institute® is a GSA approved contractor, with a MOBIS Schedule 874 and GSA Advantage Number GS10F0232L. The Breckenridge Institute’s areas of expertise are classified under NAICS Code 541611 (Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services).

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