of Organization Design
How You Do What You Do Get In The Way of Getting Work Done?
Design is an unknown, unrecognized, and frequently overlooked source
of competitive advantage for your organization. While many are
eager and quick to look outside their organizations--to the marketplace,
competitive analyses, industry trends, the economy--for competitive
leverage points, they may be less likely or willing to look closer
to home. But when an organization's design is optimally aligned
to support the company's mission, purpose, and values and to enable
the accomplishment of business and technical strategies, it will
be better positioned for success in all dimensions. The infrastructure
is then an enabler or your success rather than an obstacle to it.
designing an organization, CoastWise Consulting looks at the factors
that must be considered and the processes that are required in the
design, development, alignment, and implementation of an effective
organization. We go beyond the structure of the organization--the
lines and boxes and arrangement of people and functions--and include
such factors as information and reward systems; management and decision
making processes; mission, vision, and values; business strategy;
and people. We assist you in considering and designing each element
separately, weighing and balancing each in relationship to all of
others, identifying the trade-offs to be made, and determining the
best fit of all the elements. The infrastructure of an organization
then becomes a source of competitive advantage, while the failure
to attend to designing and sustaining an infrastructure that best
supports the business and human needs of the organization contributes
significantly to its dysfunctionality and decline.
and Why Should You Undertake an Organization Design Process?
an organization wants to make significant changes in its purpose,
outcomes, performance, and/or functionality, then a major, comprehensive
redesign process is called for. If the required changes are
less sweeping, or some aspect of one of the elements changes (for
example, strategic modifications such as targeting a new market,
or a reduction or change in the size or mix of the workforce), then
each of the other elements should be checked for fit. Each must
be modified as necessary to ensure that the organization will still
"plug and play" in light of these new developments. That's
because systems are interdependent by nature. Changes in one part
of a system create corresponding changes in other parts. Sometimes
these secondary changes go undetected until they have caused unanticipated
and often adverse consequences.
Bother When It Sounds Hard and Takes A Lot of Time and Energy?
follows function. Would you build a house without design requirements,
blueprints, a cost estimate, and an architect? Of course not!! Design
and fab a chip without specs, a schematic, a recipe, and an assortment
of design and manufacturing engineers? You know better than that.
Your infrastructure is the skeletal, circulatory, and respiratory
systems of your organization. They give it form and life force.
Can you afford not to have your processes, rewards, structure,
and people aligned with your strategy?
Conceptual Starting Point
there are several organization design models that depict the key
elements, our preferred approach comes from the work of Ed Lawler
and Jay Galbraith, pioneers and colleagues in this work.
The CoastWise Approach
recognize that each organization requires a customized process that
includes both management and employee involvement. We recommend
forming a Design Team that's representative of the organization
and works in concert with a Sponsoring individual or group, frequently
the senior executive or his/her staff.
Consulting asks the hard questions: those that will challenge
you and perhaps make you squirm but are essential to developing
your organization's capability to function successfully in a challenging
environment. Questions like:
are you setting out to do through organization design?
will you know when you have succeeded?
What stakeholders do you need to satisfy?
resources do you have?
barriers or constraints do you face?
Do I Have To Do?
we carefully and systematically look at each element separately
and together. We need to figure out how to arrange the pieces and
the whole so you can achieve your vision, mission, and goals.
will look at your:
Strategy-- What is the climate in which your organization
exists? What is the overall direction of the entire enterprise?
At what points, with whom, and for what purpose is your organization
interdependent -- in -- or outside its boundaries?
Purpose, and Values-- What is the distinct contribution
that your organization makes to the overall success of the business?
What are the necessary and specific goals and deliverables for which
the organization is responsible? What does the company/organization
stand for; how do you want to be known; how do you want employees
to work together and treat each other, your customers, other stakeholders?
Design-- What are the required specifications or design
outcomes? How can work best be divided into clusters of tasks and
responsibilities? What is the nature and purpose of relationships
and interdependencies within, between, and among various groups
or functions? What are the merits and drawbacks of different approaches
to arranging the work and the relationships?
of Processes and Systems-- Do the current work processes
and systems (e.g. decision making, rewards and recognition, information
and communication, governance forums, etc.) adequately support the
mission, values, strategy, and design outcomes of the redesign process?
If not, how should they be modified to bring them into strategic
second phase is the implementation of the new design:
What is the transition plan? What are the critical aspects of
communicating and implementing the new design? How will you know
if the new structure is contributing to the desired outcomes?
Are you getting the results you want? If not, where and how
will you make modifications?
of these phases require knowledge, discipline, and patience. Sometimes,
the analysis and design are well done but the implementation is
poorly planned or executed, or the intended changes are announced
and employees are left on their own to determine how to make the
changes or adjustments.
Can You Sabotage The Hard Work of Organization Design That You're
Structure for Design, hoping that a reorganization will solve
the problem(s), and assuming that the other variables can or will
to move faster than this work requires.
to "implement" without a clearly articulated, documented,
and well communicated plan; without a project manager; and/or
without the required commitment of the leadership team or resources.
that if the changes are announced at an All Hands meeting, employees
will be able to figure out the rest on their own.
here to read about
"The Power of Clear, Complimentary, and Well-Aligned Strategy
Resources on the Power of Organization Design
Impact of Downsizing on Corporate Culture
Doing Teams With Knowledge Workers:
The Practitioner's View
They Said It Couldn't Be Done:
OD Success With Knowledge Workers
6 - What is Organization Design?
Issue 7 - Organization Design
- Part II - Structure and Process
Issue 8 - People and Rewards
- The Glue That Holds it Together
E.E. III, (1996). From the ground up: Six principles for building
the new logic corporation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.