Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2003 (Revised March 2003)

Nature Conservancy, The

by Allen S. Grossman and Jane Wei-Skillern


Almost immediately upon being appointed CEO of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Steve McCormick undertakes a radical reorganization of this global institution. TNC is the largest and, by most measures, the most successful environment organization in the world, with revenues in excess of $650 million and a strong balance sheet. Nevertheless, after an in-depth analysis using the McKinsey-developed 7-S model, McCormick contends that the current structure, a U.S. organization with overseas offices, must be transformed to a truly global entity to fulfill its mission. Most of the staff and volunteers at TNC agree with the proposed change but protest its speed and scope. With the plan half implemented, McCormick must decide whether to slow down or forge ahead, knowing there are significant potential consequences to either decision. This case explores how a nonprofit measures success, how the content and process components of change must intersect in a carefully planned fashion, the tensions between the benefits of local autonomy, and the need for organization-wide standards and oversight.

Keywords: Globalization; Leading Change; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Strategic Planning; Natural Environment; Nonprofit Organizations; United States;


Grossman, Allen S., and Jane Wei-Skillern. "Nature Conservancy, The." Harvard Business School Case 303-007, February 2003. (Revised March 2003.)