Managing Organisational Change In A Time Of Crisis (LI Live Roundup)

Managing Organisational Change In A Time Of Crisis (LI Live Roundup)

David Morgan in conversation with Pam Orchard, CEO of The Connection at St Martin in the Fields

Welcome to the first roundup blog for our new LinkedIn Live series where our founding partner David Morgan sits down with executives, HR leaders and change makers from across the public and not-for-profit sector to discuss their experiences.

With over 20 years’ professional experience as a specialist public sector recruiter, David Morgan ensures Morgan Law’s expert teams continually provide excellent recruitment experiences for both clients and candidates in the public and not-for-profit sectors.

On this occasion David spoke to Pam Orchard, CEO of The Connection at St Martin in the Fields for some insight into the process (and challenges) of managing organisational change and launching a new strategic direction in the voluntary sector.

Watch the entire conversation right here:

Or if you just want to get a quick overview of the key discussion points, we’ve outlined them for you below:

  • A brief intro to Pam and the Connection at St Martins
  • 5 tips for building a new culture and strategy within an existing organisation
  1. Understanding your organisations’ purpose
  2. Clear shared goals and strong planning
  3. Structures of accountability
  4. Balancing proactivity vs reactivity
  5. Knowing that you can’t do it all!
  • Managing organisational change in a time of crisis
  • What is The Connection’s Theory of Change?

A brief introduction to Pam Orchard and The Connection at St Martins

CEO of The Connection, Pam Orchard


Pam Orchard has held senior roles in several homelessness charities and her areas of expertise are in creating strategies for growth, organisational change, and business transformation in complex operating environments across the non-profit sector.

“I’ve worked in the voluntary sector all my career, which is now starting to be a little bit more than 30 years. For around 20 years I’ve worked in organisations that support some of the most vulnerable people in our society. I generally describe myself as the lady you call when you need a bit of a shake up!”

– Pam

After almost 6 years as CEO at Providence Row – a charity supporting and vulnerable people in East London – she moved to The Connection at St Martin in the Fields, one of the UK’s leading homelessness charities, in 2017 where she has been ever since.

5 tips for building a new culture and strategy within an existing organisation

“There are lots of different types of homelessness and at The Connection we often deal with the kind of rough period post-homelessness. People have had horrible things happen to them and are having a tough time adjusting. That makes it incredibly complicated to work out what you’re going to do in response, because there’s so much going on for people that needs addressing. It leaves you spread incredibly thinly. You are already managing a lot of risk and safeguarding issues and then your purpose becomes lost in the daily grind. I wanted to bring more focus to the real work that had become diluted.”                                                   

– Pam

Laying the foundation for a resilient and successful future for your organisation requires:

  1. An understanding of your organisations’ purpose
    Your purpose is your, and your team’s, guiding light. Without a clear understanding of what you do you can’t make effective decisions, inspire people, or foster a sense of belonging. Having a deep understanding of your organisation’s purpose allows you to introduce new elements of strategy and to communicate those changes to others.
  2. Clear shared goals and strong planning
    Pushing strategy in a new direction is asking a lot of people. You should honour the work that has gone before you but at the same time keep everyone moving in the same direction. Strong planning helps create a set of shared goals, mitigate risk, and manage adaptation to change.
  3. Structures of accountability
    Setting clear expectations, and regularly reviewing and reflecting on progress encourages a sense of individual and collective ownership for organisations. Once everyone knows what they should be doing, what the agreed outcomes are and how they can affect changes themselves they become invested in the success of the organisation as a whole.
  4. Balancing proactivity vs reactivity
    Because of the nature of our purpose as a not-for-profit organisation a lot of our work can be very reactionary. Seeing people’s most desperate needs and addressing them in the immediate term. But this needs to be balanced with more a proactive strategy. Otherwise, that sense of crisis can feed upwards. How you manage that balance in your own organisation will be key.
  5. Knowing that you can’t do it all!
    As tempting as it is to try to solve every problem, it is simply impossible to. Accepting that you can’t do everything is the biggest kindness you can do to yourself and to your team. Focussing instead on providing a calm, reliable environment where you keep your promises and follow through on what you can do helps everyone.

Managing organisational change in a time of crisis

Delivering a frontline support service to the most vulnerable people in society is challenging enough on its own, then having to launch a new organisational strategic direction whilst navigating a time of immense pressure compounds this difficulty– you must have some valuable lessons to share for fellow leaders.

“We had a couple of years prior to the pandemic to begin putting things together. Then by mid-February it became clear that things were serious. The Connection at St Martin’s played a key part in Westminster’s response to homelessness during the pandemic and we set up a critical response team of key members of the organisation.

As a building-based service we had to close, and we swapped all our service provision to running hotels. Our staff were incredible. But as time went on, we had to furlough 30% of our staff and then pressure began to spill over. Working from home had left some of our team isolated. Those that were on the ground providing service delivery felt angry because they weren’t seeing senior staff.

We had to become more proactive with wellbeing and improve communication internally. This whole experience was telling us what organisation we definitely don’t want to be. And I know that I, as a senior leader, do not want to be incredibly detached from the reality of the organisation.”



What is The Connection’s Theory of Change?

“When the pandemic struck, we were already halfway through a change program. At the point we ceased service delivery I felt we had to take the opportunity to refocus and to do things differently when we start putting things back together again. We were never going to get another opportunity like this to shake this up and sort it out.”


Working closely with the Maudsley NHS Trust and clinical psychologist Dr James Piddie, The Connection’s executive team began to develop a framework for repositioning their approach to homelessness in London. Their new approach “The Theory of Change – working with, not for” is a six-stage model for designed to build trust with people who have lost trust in society and to help them picture the future they want and access the resources they need to help them get there.

Watch the full webinar for more insights from Pam and David or read David’s latest in-depth article where we delve a little deeper into change management from a non-profit perspective.