The path to organization redesign success can be daunting. There are numerous moving parts to coordinate, from finding the right resources for financing to ensuring everything stays on track throughout the process. You can easily become overwhelmed by the details and feel unsure about where to start.
As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” But what does that first step look like?
The best approach we’ve found is determining where you want to end up. A successful organization redesign begins by clearly defining your objectives and identifying the outcomes you want to achieve. It may seem counterintuitive, but asking yourself questions about how your organization will look after the redesign is completed can provide guidance before you make a more detailed plan.
Five Questions to Help Achieve Organization Redesign Success
- What do you hope to achieve? No one updates an organizational structure on a whim. You should have at least one strategic goal that the enterprise wants to achieve through a redesign. Are you trying to reduce operational costs? Improve productivity? Break into a new market or boost your existing market share? Do you want to add new customers, or will you focus on better serving the customers you have?
- What are your current capabilities? Once you define desired outcomes, look at your current organization to see if you have the right skillset and capacity to reach those strategic goals. You may need to look outside for people with the required experience, or you could arrange additional training to boost the skills of current staff. If you aim to increase production, for example, you may need to add factory space and equipment.
- What variables could impact your success? Identifying which aspects of the organization you need to redesign is an obvious variable when pursuing measurable success. Another is whether the new approach represents a major change in how you do business. How large an effort will it take to implement the change? Also consider how people’s behaviors will need to change to ensure you achieve the designed outcomes.
- What will good behavior look like in the future? Organization design involves much more than drawing lines on a page to create a new structure. You started down this road for a reason, and you should expect people to behave in a certain manner once the change is implemented. If you aim to improve customer satisfaction, how will your customer service representatives behave differently than they do today? If your goal is better production line quality, people must agree on exactly what that means and how they will measure results. Everyone affected by the change needs to understand why changes are being made and how the changes will impact their own role in the organization going forward.
- Am I committed to implementing this change? Make sure that you and your team are fully on board with the objectives you are setting out to accomplish. Unless you are truly committed to the effort and are able to project that commitment throughout the organization, others may not buy into the redesign, hampering or derailing its progress.
Obviously, you cannot anticipate all the details of the change at this early stage. Alignment Leaders® and change partners must work together to create a vision of where they want to go and a basic roadmap toward achieving organization redesign success. As the project progresses, you will be able to fill in the gaps and nail down more specifics.
At the beginning, you need to move beyond a vague target such as “sell more widgets” to prepare the framework to architect your solution. You will need to create conditions that allow people to perform in ways that will lead to a winning organization redesign. Designing a solution that aligns favorable and desired outcomes through organizational choices begins by establishing clear objectives.
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell