Organisation design is the holistic process of reshaping an organisation structure and roles. Effective organisation design is about improving an organisation’s ability to execute its strategy by aligning structure, roles and skills to business strategy. The optimal decision is often the result of a guided process that ensures the best design options are selected relative to the realities of the organisation and its market. Organisation design is often triggered by changes in the organisation and/or its competitive environment. Due to its holistic nature and the potential for large scale change, organisation design is a step by step methodology.

Organisational design is a step-by-step methodology which assesses the misalignment of work flow; procedures; structures and systems; and realigns them to fit current business realities/goals, and then develops plans to implement the new changes. The process focuses on improving both the operational or function; and people side of the business.

For most organisations, the design process aims to achieve a more effective organisational design, significantly improved results (profitability, customer service, internal operations), and employees who are empowered and committed to the business. The core imperative of the design process is a comprehensive and holistic approach to organisational improvement that touches all aspects of organisational life, so you can achieve:

  • Excellent customer service
  • Increased profitability
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Improved efficiency and cycle time
  • A culture of committed and engaged employees
  • A clear strategy for managing and growing your business

 

By design we refer to the integration of people with core business processes; technology; and systems. A well-designed organisation ensures that the structure of the organisation matches its purpose or strategy; meets the challenges posed by business realities; and significantly increases the probability that the collective efforts of people will be successful and sustainable.

As organisations grow, and the challenges in the external environment become more complex, and businesses processes; structures; and systems that once worked become barriers to efficiency; customer service; employee morale; and financial profitability. Organisations that don’t periodically renew themselves may suffer from symptoms/barriers such as:

  • Inefficient workflow with breakdowns and non value-added steps
  • Redundancies in effort (“we don’t have time to do things right, but do have time to do them over”)
  • Fragmented work with little regard for good of the whole (Compromising of quality for quantity)
  • Lack of knowledge and focus on the customer
  • Silo mentality and turf battles
  • Lack of ownership (“It’s not my job”)
  • Cover up and blame rather than identifying and solving problems (“Pass the buck syndrome”)
  • Delays in decision-making
  • People don’t have information or authority to solve problems when and where they occur
  • Management, rather than the employees, are responsible for solving problems when things go wrong
  • It takes a long time to get something done
  • Systems are ill-defined or reinforce wrong behaviors
  • Mistrust between employees and management (“Them and Us” Syndrome)

It is imperative to first meet as senior leaders, to discuss current business results, organisational health, environmental demands, etc. and the need to embark on such a process. From this, senior leaders establish a “Business case” for the design process that includes a “case for change;” desired outcomes; scope; allocation of resources; time deadlines; participation; communications strategy; change management processes; and other parameters that will guide the project.

Often the entry point to the design process is the strategic planning process or executive development process, undertaken by senior leaders, depending on how clear the senior leaders are about their strategy and how well they work together as a team.

You don’t want to begin making changes until you have a good understanding of the current organisation. Using our OD Model we facilitate a comprehensive assessment of your organisation to understand how it functions; its strengths; and weaknesses; and alignment to your core ideology and business strategy. The assessment process is astounding in the clarity it brings an organisation’s leaders and members, not only regarding how the organisation currently works but how the various parts are interrelated; its overall state of health; and most importantly, what needs to be done to make improvements.

The senior team (and/or others who have been invited to participate in the process), look to the future and develop a complete set of design recommendations for the “ideal future.” At a high level, the steps in this process include the following:

  • Defining your basic organising principle. (Will you organise primarily around functions; processes; customer-types; technologies; geographies; etc.?)
  • Streamlining core business processes – those that result in revenue and/or deliverables to customers.
  • Documenting and standardising procedures.
  • Organising people around core processes. Identifying headcount necessary to do core work.
  • Defining tasks; functions and skills. What are the performance metrics for each function/team? How are they evaluated and held accountable?
  • Assess the current employee skills and competencies required to meet the new organisational demands and objectives
  • Determining facility, layout and equipment needs of various teams and departments throughout the organisation.
  • Identifying support resources (finance; sales; HR; etc.); mission; staffing; etc. and where should these should be located.
  • Defining the management structure that provides strategic; coordinating and operational support.
  • Improving coordinating and development systems (hiring; training; compensation; information-sharing; goal-setting; performance management; etc.).

At some point the design process transforms into transition planning, as critical implementation dates are set and specific; concrete action plans created to implement the new design. And a key part of this step includes communicating progress to other members of the organisation. A communications plan is developed that educates people in what is happening. Education brings awareness, and everyone’s inclusion brings the beginning of commitment.

Now the task is to make the design live. People are organised into natural work groups which receive training in the new design, team skills and start-up team building. New work roles are learned and new relationships within and without the unit are established. Equipment and facilities are rearranged. Reward systems; performance systems; information sharing; decision-making and management systems are changed and adjusted. Some of this can be accomplished quickly. Some may require more detail, and be implemented over a longer period of time.

The OD Framework

Organisations, like all living systems, can survive only to the extent that they maintain harmony with their external environment. This includes being sensitive to the evolving needs and perceptions of customers; understanding changes occurring in technologies; knowing your competition; and understanding the legal, social and political climates. Most organisations eventually die because they fail to maintain a responsive attitude towards their environment.

There are two parts to strategy, Business and Organisational strategy. Business strategy is a set of conscious decisions about how the organisation will add value to customers and distinguish itself from its competitors. It also includes performance targets and strategy for growth. A well developed business strategy tells the organisation where it is going and guides it like a ships rudder in a stormy sea.

This is the flow of work through the organisation. It is the sequence of events or steps necessary to get a product out the door or deliver a service. This also includes the technology and resources (equipment; software; space and materials) required to produce a deliverable. Core business processes are, or should be; the focal point around which all other business unit activity is organised. Understanding, streamlining and properly supporting core business processes is the central job of any organisation.

How people are organised around business processes. It moves beyond box charts to understanding the boundaries; roles; responsibilities and reporting relationships among people (RACI approach). It is a sort of template that determines not only relationships but coordination of tasks and allocation of resources around business processes. The proper question about structure is not whether it is the right one, but whether it fits with the rest of the organisation (core processes and strategy), and helps rather than hinders performance.

Culture is how the organisation really operates. It consists of the leadership style; employee attitudes and habits; and management practices that make up the distinctive “personality” of the organisation. Culture mirrors the true philosophy and values that the organisation actually practices. As such, it is a measure of how well an organisation has translated its philosophy (organisational strategy) into practice.

What is the organisation’s current performance? Results define the success or health of an organisation, and are therefore the starting point for understanding how well the organisation is functioning. Results indicate where the organisation is strong and what it needs to keep doing, as well as where it has gaps and what it needs to change. Everything is tied to results. Not being clear about current or future results is like being lost at sea, never knowing where you want to go, and or how to get there.

Our Process

This is giving the organisation’s top leaders, the support they need to successfully guide and manage the design process. This often includes helping them clarify their leadership philosophy; shared core work; and how they work together to manage business results. We offer coaching and team development activities to strengthen their ability to build a positive and sustainable organisational culture.

  • Establish Project Charter
  • Conduct snapshot assessment (“AS IS” Analysis)
  • Educate leaders
  • Commission design team
  • Begin change management strategies
  • Analyse processes; structure; systems; and culture
  • Report out to steering team
  • Continue change management strategies
  • Establish design guidelines
  • Define business model
  • Redesign processes, structure, systems and culture
  • Verify the design
  • Report out to steering team
  • Commission implementation team
  • Flesh out design recommendations
  • Create detailed implementation plans
  • Train people in new roles/skills
  • Reconfigure equipment, work-space
  • Assess performance against balanced scorecard
  • Make adjustments to design
  • Continue training leaders and employees

Is assisting the organisation to drive continuous focused communication throughout the process to ensure continues buy-in; support and understanding of the change process. This may include newsletters; webcasts; implementation of change champions; coffee-table discussions.

Is preparing all employees to embrace and succeed in the new organisation. Many change initiatives fail because they don’t give enough attention to people, who ultimately do the work of an organisation and make it succeed. We commission a change management team to assess organisational readiness and provide this team with tools to overcome resistance and positively engage employees as contributing partners in implementing your new design and achieving business success.

Is assisting the organisation to drive continuous focused communication throughout the process to ensure continues buy-in; support and understanding of the change process. This may include newsletters; webcasts; implementation of change champions; coffee-table discussions.

Is preparing all employees to embrace and succeed in the new organisation. Many change initiatives fail because they don’t give enough attention to people, who ultimately do the work of an organisation and make it succeed. We commission a change management team to assess organisational readiness and provide this team with tools to overcome resistance and positively engage employees as contributing partners in implementing your new design and achieving business success.

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