Strengthening Performance, Capacity, and Impact: An Introduction to the APHSA Organizational Effectiveness Practice

March 24, 2023

What is Organizational Effectiveness?

Human services agencies are contending with increasingly complex challenges and unprecedented social changes while fulfilling their mission to improve outcomes for communities nationwide. While human services leaders are experts in administering, overseeing, and aligning programs that build resilience and bolster the well-being of people, they are often overextended while balancing competing priorities in an ever-changing ecosystem.  Organizational Effectiveness (OE) is a crucial, yet often undervalued, component of organizational success. Organizations that are agile and adaptive to changing circumstances are more likely to be effective, but organizational issues serve as roadblocks to achieving goals and objectives efficiently and effectively.

APHSA’s OE team facilitates technical assistance efforts, leadership coaching, and training sessions focused on helping state and local human services organizations and their partners strengthen performance, capacity, and impact. What does this mean in practice? It means that our OE team collaborates with human services leaders across the country as thought partners in facilitating change efforts. We provide on-site and virtual consultative services to assist agencies in making lasting organizational improvements, both immediate and long-term.

OE Guiding Principles

We understand that organizations work as systems of interconnected moving parts. This means that to maximize the organization’s performance, various aspects of the organization, including its structure, processes, culture, leadership, and results, need to be continuously improved. By continually evaluating and improving its effectiveness, an organization can better achieve its goals and achieve long-term impact and success.

Below are the overarching principles and frameworks for our practice:


DAPIM™ is APHSA's approach to systematic continuous improvement. APHSA has found that to close the gap between where organizations are and the results and vision they desire, they must follow a step-by-step process of Defining, Assessing, Planning, Implementing, and Monitoring.

Human Services Value Curve

  • The Human Services Value Curve (HSVC) is a lens or a way of looking at what we do from the point of view of the consumer. Using the HSVC aids us in realizing the full potential of both the people we work with and the systems we use to do so.
  • The HSVC charts four progressive levels of value, each building off the previous level. Each of these levels—regulative, collaborative, integrative, and generative—represents a progressive level of outcomes, impact, and social value.

Learning By Doing

Developed by APHSA, Learning By Doing is an innovative approach to ongoing organizational development where participants become familiar with models, tools, templates, and methods to improve their organization continuously. Participants then learn and practice monitoring techniques to assess their progress and adjust their continuous improvement work as needed.

OE Services

As a team of former social workers, state and local human services leaders, and training and development professionals, we have experience working with a range of human services divisions and programs, including:

  • Change Management
  • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
  • Strategic Planning
  • Staff Retention
  • Coaching
  • Facilitation

Since 2005, our OE team has delivered over 140 custom projects within 38 states to human services agencies and community partners. For more information on how your organization might begin this work, please reach out to Jen Kerr, Director of OE at APHSA.

Strengthening Performance, Capacity, and Impact: An Introduction to the APHSA Organizational Effectiveness Practice

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