The way we plan or design an organisational structure often starts with the best intentions, aligning roles and processes with broader strategy, however over time priorities change and the structure evolves into something either overly complex or completely misaligned with strategic imperatives.

Perhaps you have tried to “fix” the more obvious problems – moving some lines and boxes in an org chart, reordering responsibilities, or conducting a complete restructure – only to discover that any short-term gains disappear once the issues creep back in, or worse, you are even further away from being strategic than when you started.

Is this sounding all too familiar? If you need help to reshape your organisation to fit your business strategy, then continue reading.

It starts (and ends) with strategy

A successful organisation redesign means creating a framework for your structure and people resource that enables your business to successfully execute its strategy. It requires an understanding of broader business goals as well as strengths and opportunities unique to your business, and designing structure, roles and talent aligned to strategic priorities. Does your organisational design fit with your business strategy?

It’s not as complex as it sounds (and yet it is)

Organisational design can seem unnecessarily complex, particularly for very large businesses who may view the process as (yet another) organisational-wide transformation. Getting it right is the real challenge, and while no one knows your business as well as your senior leadership team, it is often external organisation design experts that can make all the difference in helping you to build the right organisational capabilities and structure to execute your strategy.

The org chart is the last thing to change (if at all)

Businesses are often too quick to alter their structure, knowing that a problem exists and thinking that a change to their organisation chart will be a simple and quick fix. Best practice organisation design starts with understanding what the problem truly is before making any changes to company hierarchy. Done right, you may discover that the org chart doesn’t have to change at all, rather there are other levers that need work like culture, processes, reward and recognition.

An enduring quote from McKinsey sums it up well. “Many leaders tend to ignore the other structure, process, and people elements that are part of a complete redesign, thereby rearranging the deck chairs but failing to see that the good ship Titanic may still be sinking.”

There will be winners and losers

Any change in “the way things are done” in an organisation creates uncertainty. If your redesign includes a change to the structure, then there will be winners and losers. If not implemented well, the people who are impacted the most are likely to be resisters of change; roadblocks to change can have a detrimental effect on outcomes. You need to be making the most informed decisions to begin with, communicate often and effectively, and have a practical action plan for implementation. Winning hearts and minds requires behavioural change.

Keep your eye on the prize

When you boil it down, good organisation design is essentially about making the most of your people resource. Your people are performing at their absolute best, they are accountable for what they do, empowered to do their best and your workplace nurtures these behaviours. When you think of it in this way, it’s obvious that making minor fixes like moving boxes in an org chart is not going to significantly change the way your people work.

Need help?

Change is hard. But ignoring the reality of what’s happening in your business can lead to even bigger, potentially unsurmountable, problems. If your organisational design does not support your capabilities and strategy, then the time for change is now.

Decipher Group are experts at small/medium and large-scale organisation design projects, helping our clients to understand how the complex goals of their business can be aligned with their human potential. Let’s chat.

The Decipher Team

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