What Guidelines Underlie Successful Organization (Re)Design Efforts?
For every successful implemented organization redesign, there are countless flops that have led to lessened productivity and effectiveness and, in some cases, the decline of an organization. For every brilliant spark of genius that transforms how we think about how people can come together to accomplish great work, there are 10 misguided efforts that don’t amount to much more than a few ideas scribbled on a cocktail napkin. To ensure that your organization redesign effort is in the former category and not the latter, you would be wise to internalize the following principles and let these concepts guide this initiative:
- Have a good reason. As mentioned in the previous two points, make sure you have a good reason to redesign your organization. Avoid having a solution in search of a problem. Redesign shouldn’t happen in a vacuum. It has to be grounded in the realities of the organization, the objectives the organization wants to achieve and the competitive marketplace and resulting conditions in which the organization finds itself.
- Be Like Gumby: Flexibility and Nimbleness are the goals. Organization redesign is not a one-time activity. Organization design is an essential and ongoing part of each manager’s job. The ultimate goal of redesign is to create a fundamentally new architecture that will focus and unleash the competitive strengths embedded in each organization. That said, the marketplace and economic environment is ever-changing. Thus, the design of an organization has to be flexible and nimble enough to respond quickly and adeptly to these changes.
- Strive for Balance and Alignment. Remember, your organization design is one part of the organization’s system. Focusing exclusively on formal structures and processes while ignoring the political, social and culture dynamics is a recipe for failure. You always have to keep in mind how work actually gets done. An effective redesign takes into account the entire structure of an organization. It is a decision-making process meant to align all components of an organization, including business, organization and people strategies, as well as the leadership and culture, in support of its business strategy.
- Go Slow to Go Fast. The devil of an organization design really is in the details. Thinking through and taking into account details that affect the design and implementation on the front end will definitely save time and money on the back end. You need to take the time throughout the process to anticipate the impacts of the new design on workflow, physical space, social networks, culture and performance. Moreover, the best designs involve leveraging the knowledge, experience and expertise of the people throughout the organization.
- Don’t forget about the people. Walt Disney once said, “You can build the greatest theme park in the world, but it takes people to manage it.” The same thing can be said about an organization design. Organization redesign is one of the most significant change projects you can undertake, and the change process begins the minute it is announced. Therefore, you have to be intentional about how you engage and foster support from your key stakeholders and those employees impacted by your proposed changes.
- Accept the Art and Science of Organization Redesign. Organization redesign is a science because, as previously mentioned, your organization is a system that works in a number of specific ways. You need to understand and respect that system if you are going to have a design that is balanced and aligned. That said, the process of organization design is a science. As long as there is coherence or “fit” among the business, organization and people strategies, there is no one best way to design an organization. The art of the organization design process involves weighing choices and balancing trade-offs.
- Form follows function. “Form follows Function” means organization design follows business strategy. As a result, there is a logical sequence of actions and decisions that applies to the design process at all levels of the organization.
The bottom line
You may be tempted to approach your organization design effort like a novice hunter who randomly fires at any moving target. Seasoned hunters and seasoned leaders know that approach won’t lead to success. The better method is to stop and ready yourself, take aim and then fire.
Are you ready to take your organizational effectiveness to the next level? Check out the other resources available online at www.acceleraconsultinggroup.com or give us a call at 407.376.8522 for a free consultation. We accelerate results by igniting leadership and organizational potential!