Collegiate management and restructuring plan
A functional collegiate leadership team with the ability to lead was established. The organisation was restructured, and framework documents were created.
After 6 years of running at a financial deficit, Nouvelles Voies now has a sustainable business model. It achieved a positive result of €24,000 in 2017 and €68,000 in 2018 and is well- positioned to continue providing services to people in fragile situations.
Context and challenges
The purpose of the Nouvelles Voies is to fight exclusion and to uphold the rights of all.
In a context where precariousness is worsening and the abuse of rights is widespread, many people (young people, seniors, isolated or disabled people, single-parent families, job seekers, employees) find themselves deprived in the face of increasingly complex administrative and legal processes.
Since 2001, Nouvelles Voies has provided a unique and innovative response by mobilizing its expertise to serve people in fragile situations to strengthen their autonomy and make them proactive.
Nouvelles Voies provides three services:
- Judicial Officer for the Protection of Majority – a sworn professional who performs the function of legal representative for adults under judicial mandate
- collective preventive actions
- administrative and legal support services for individuals.
In October 2016, Nouvelles Voies engaged a facilitator, Benjamin Degroote, to help it establish a collaborative governance structure for its volunteer members. In November 2016, the Chief Executive Officer announced her departure and the Board of Directors decided to realign Benjamin’s work to help mobilize employees to think about the management of the organisation.
Eight employees volunteered and worked with Benjamin over a 5 month period to reflect and transition to new arrangements. The Board of Directors and 8 employees decided not to recruit a new Chief Executive Officer and took the bold step of using a collegiate Management Committee of 8 employees to manage the organisation.
The 2016 financial statements announced a negative financial result of €380,000 bringing the level of debt of the association to a critical level. The financial sustainability of the organisation was in doubt and it needed to recover quickly or face liquidation.
The key challenges were to:
- Allow Nouvelles Voies to stabilize and find a balance, with a financial deficit, a young Management Committee in operation, fragile and inexperienced and a voluntary governance tired and less and less involved.
- Allow the organization to communicate, both internally and externally to its financial and action partners, on the difficult phase it is experiencing.
- Mobilize all its ecosystem around the financial stake.
The objectives were to:
- establish a collegial leadership in a critical financial and human context that commits the survival of the association
- save jobs
- sustain the business model of Nouvelles Voies.
The process started by establishing a committee of volunteer employees to reflect on the coordination of the structure. Facilitation allowed us to set the framework for opening the process and to structure the reflection of this employee committee.
During the process and unexpectedly the employee committee turned into a Steering Committee and took over the management of Nouvelles Voies. Facilitation enabled members of the Steering Committee and its stakeholders to co-construct the rules of operation.
The Steering Committee subsequently put in place a restructuring plan to optimize the management of the daily newspaper. Facilitation at this stage allowed us to co-build the big decisions and maintain the cohesion of the group in a context under pressure with a group that did not yet have confidence in itself.