Fall-Winter 2005
Project Type
Full team
Project Focus
Organizational Development
Organization Type
Government or Public Services


TRUSTe® is an independent, nonprofit enabling trust based on privacy for personal information on the internet. TRUSTe certifies and monitors website privacy and email policies, monitors practices, and resolves thousands of consumer privacy problems every year.

In 2007, TRUSTe celebrates its tenth anniversary as the world’s largest online privacy seal program with over 2,400 websites relying on TRUSTe to provide best practices for consumer choice. TRUSTe has also expanded its standards for consumer choice to address issues in email and downloadable software and counts internet leaders AOL and Microsoft among its sponsors.


TRUSTe has achieved considerable market leadership in privacy and entrepreneurial success, including the recent introduction of a major new product. Anticipating a period of potentially rapid growth, TRUSTe’s leadership recognizes the need for an objective examination of the best use and expansion of current human resources to achieve the next level of success.

Project Objectives

TRUSTe’s executive director engaged the ACT Team to determine how best to expand TRUSTe’s current organization and organizational structure to most effectively meet its business initiatives.

Project Overview

The ACT team interviewed the management team and staff to examine the effectiveness of TRUSTe’s structure, leadership capacity, succession planning, recruitment, and retention. The team worked collaboratively with the executive director, frequently sharing findings and hypotheses and jointly crystallizing recommendations for restructuring and expansion of leadership capacity. After March, the team fine-tuned the new organization, suggested new organizations and positions, and further developed recruitment strategy and resources.

Key Recommendations

  • Consolidate the majority of TRUSTe’s functional areas into two major organizations directly tied to business initiatives
  • In hiring new senior leadership for these areas, seek candidates with specified functional requirements and interdisciplinary capability, as well as designated behavioral attributes that will fit successfully with the TRUSTe organization, its leadership and its culture
  • Utilize current resources within TRUSTe to motivate and engage the people who are right for the organization
  • Adopt the ACT team’s recommended recruitment message, which highlights the unique aspects of the TRUSTe organization
  • In the future, create a new third organization, led by a current management team member, and several new positions throughout the organization

Final Report Outline

Summary of management team interviews - December

  • Employee interview format

  • Organizational strengths and challenges

  • Leadership and succession potential and career pathing

  • Required attributes for a successful TRUSTe leader

  • Rough draft of organizational restructure with senior leadership requirement

Summary of staff interviews - January

  • Definition and ownership of operational and product responsibilities within and between the two proposed organizations

  • Propose the new organization at the Management Team level, criteria used to restructure, resulting benefits and hiring of new senior leadership for the organization.

Further recommendations organization and recruitment strategy - May

  • Proposed additional organization/positions
  • Recruitment messaging
  • Recruitment resources