Aligning STRATEGY, STRUCTURE, and ENVIRONMENT to maximize organizational performance is a timeless message that many SAGE Analytics Inc. clients will recognize as the Matching Framework (Baltazar and Brooks, 2001)

This alignment is particularly relevant right now as leaders are navigating through a serious environmental shift caused by the broad economic impact of COVID-19.  The operating environment has changed significantly for most organizations and therefore the organizational strategy and structure need to be adjusted or re-imagined in order to align (fit) with a new environment.

Organizational structures are affected. Many government facilities and businesses are closed and staff layoffs are imminent. Remote work arrangements, virtual meetings, and online classes are at the forefront of the new normal amid a global pandemic.

Organizational strategies need to be reconsidered. Yesterday’s strategic priorities may no longer fit with today’s reality and may need to be temporarily set aside.  The nuances of yesterday’s problems may be irrelevant in today’s new operating environment.

Managing organizational performance in this new and rapidly changing environment is a paramount leadership concern. Some businesses will pause or significantly reduce operations. For government and essential service providers, steps are taken to maintain business continuity and public protection.  

Recognizing the need to align the organizational strategy and structure with the environment is a good starting point.

The pandemic induced environmental shift calls leaders to action to find solutions to manage organizational performance. Recognizing the need to align the organizational strategy and structure with the environment is a good starting point. This simple concept of a Matching Framework can be helpful for leaders to keep in mind as they address organizational performance in a new normal.

Matching Framework

Source Credit: Adapted from the Matching Framework Theory by Baltazar and Brooks (2001, 2007). This concept suggests that organizational performance is impacted by the degree of fit between strategy, structure, and environment.

Shari-Anne Doolaege, MPA, Q.Med, Q.Arb, CLGM is a municipal consultant, mediator, arbitrator, investigator, and President of SAGE Analytics Inc., based in Edmonton, Alberta.

Executive Regionalism

Consultation is necessary to manage regional issues and leverage opportunities.  Meaningful discussions are needed among leaders to develop a neighbourly understanding on important matters. Officials do not sit idle when another government’s action, proposed action, or inaction has the potential to impact their constituents.  Interdependencies lead to important discourse as officials at various government levels work through public issues. 

Executive Regionalism is the act of getting things done in a regional context using professional relationships and political capacity.  It is the art of local collaboration.  Executive Regionalism describes the collective actions of local officials and stakeholders who seek to advance public good in a regional setting.  Regional services such as recreation and emergency management are prime examples of shared service responsibilities and mutual benefits.  

Local governments are not mere underlings of the province. They are interdependent government partners serving society.  The agility and responsiveness of local governments is strengthened by the close proximity to street-level networks on the home front.  Stakeholders are consulted, and collaboration begins at the important information sharing stage leading to quality decision-making. 

Government interdependencies are inherent and will persist amid formal boundaries and jurisdictions.  Intermunicipal collaboration is now mandatory in Alberta following the October 2017 amendments to the Municipal Government Act.  Local officials who are serving during this council term have the responsibility to formalize shared services and the opportunity to address challenges with innovative and creative solutions.


Shari-Anne Doolaege, MPA, Q.Arb, CLGM

President, Sage Analytics Inc.


*This Blog is based on excerpts from the Executive Regionalism article written by Shari-Anne Doolaege and published in the Municipal World magazine in October 2013.  The full article is available here:  Executive Regionalism Article MW Oct 2013

Municipal New Year’s Resolutions

It is a new year with new rules. On the municipal front, 2018 rings in with many legislative changes rolling out through amendments to Alberta’s Municipal Government Act.  Here are some Municipal “New Year’s” Resolutions that are certain to hit the radar and agendas in every Alberta municipality this year.  This handful of governance changes barely scratches the surface on the scope of legislative changes.  I welcome municipal officials to comment and add other noble resolutions to this list! 

Intermunicipal Collaboration:  We will review shared services and costs and develop meaningful agreements with municipal neighbours to manage growth (s. 708).

Council Conduct:  We will develop or update our Council Code of Conduct Bylaw (s. 146.1) and abide by these shared expectations to promote healthy interactions.

Financial Planning:  We will develop a 3-year operating plan and a 5-year capital plan (s. 283.1).  The operating plan will show the impact of capital projects, such as operating costs and amortization.  The capital plan will reflect strategic priorities and show how capital projects will be funded.

Communication:  The Chief Administrative Officer will ensure that information provided to one elected official is provided to all elected official as soon as practical (s. 153.1).  We will develop a public participation policy (s. 216.1) to establish clear and consistent public participation opportunities in the governance process. 

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