Form and Function – Moving Toward A Flattened Org Structure

At LDS, we have named values – community, kindness, acceptance, and achievement – and we have additional values like inclusion, innovation, integrity and excellence that are built into our charitable and educational mission.  

As we evolve and mature as an organization, it behooves us to ensure that not only the substance of our work but also its form aligns with our values.  

It is with this as a guiding star, that we are taking some steps on our journey to create a flattened organization structure. A flattened structure creates greater opportunity to bring in decolonizing practices, matriarchal values, responsiveness to those we serve, resiliency, and greater opportunities for responsibility-centred leadership for a growing number of team members.  

A flat structure allows us to work toward the following goals:  

  • build more resiliency and diverse knowledge and skill into our organization structure,
  • make our decision-making processes more robust, efficient, and thoughtful,
  • support LDS’ continued growth and success as we continue to welcome more learners each year. 

At this time, the Senior Management Team consists of the following people:  

  • Senior Manager, Education – Abigail Lobo  
  • Senior Manager, Programs – Alice Bromfield
  • Senior Manager, Youth & Adult Programs – Becky Bishop
  • Senior Manager, FinanceJacqueline Lai
  • Senior Manager, Early Years Program – Marlo Humiski  
  • Senior Manager, Communications – Sara Jane Walker  
  • Senior Manager, Assessments – Sofia Lopez-Nakashima 
  • Senior Manager, Instruction & Innovation – Virginia Van Zee 
  • Executive Director – Rachel Forbes  

        The steps we are taking now are the beginning, and we invite your ideas and feedback as we continue to explore ways to include more voices and experiences. We acknowledge that changing structures in a growing organization can also create uncertainty, and we will do our best to build clarity and transparency into our ongoing communication—internally and externally.  

        Further context on flattened org structures in social-purpose organizations:  

        We believe a flattened organizational structure aligns well with charitable values in key ways: 

        1. Empowerment and Participation: Flat organizations promote inclusivity by involving more team members in decision-making processes. This aligns with charitable values of community involvement and collective empowerment. 
        1. Transparency and Trust: Charitable organizations thrive on trust and transparency. A flat structure facilitates open communication channels, which helps build trust among staff, volunteers, donors, and beneficiaries. This transparency is vital for maintaining the integrity and accountability expected in charitable work. 
        1. Efficiency and Agility: Charities often operate in rapidly changing environments, responding to emerging needs and crises that their beneficiaries are facing. Flat structures enhance organizational agility, allowing for quick decision-making and efficient allocation of resources to where they are most needed. 
        1. Fostering Innovation and Solutions: Encouraging team members to contribute and collaborate on ideas fosters an environment of innovation. This can lead to creative solutions to social issues and more effective program delivery for charities. 
        1. Enhanced Engagement and Motivation: Team members in flat organizations often feel more connected to the organization’s mission and values. This alignment with personal values enhances motivation and engagement, crucial for the passion-driven work typical in the charitable sector. 

        By providing more autonomy and diverse responsibilities, flat structures offer opportunities for personal growth and development, aligning with charitable values of empowerment and capacity building. 

        In summary, the principles of flat organizational structures—such as empowerment, transparency, efficiency, innovation, and engagement—closely align with and support the core values of charitable organizations. This alignment helps these organizations operate more effectively and ethically, enhancing their ability to achieve their mission and make a positive impact. 

        Further links: 

              – Rachel S. Forbes, Executive Director

              LDS is a community of dedicated professionals who write collaboratively. We recognize the contribution of unnamed team members for their wisdom and input.