Form Follows Function

Are you struggling to effectively implement your strategies and plans? Perhaps its your organizational structure.  I was reminded this week of the significant connection between successful strategy implementation and organizational structure.  If you are struggling to achieve your plans, maybe the first place to look is how your business is arranged.  An article by Eric Garton in the Harvard Business Review entitled, “Is Your Company Actually Set Up to Support Your Strategy?”, reminded me of a discussion I once had with a new leader who asked me if I had recommendations for the organizational structure.  I immediately began asking questions about goals and strategies, and I quickly realized I was creating frustration.  So, I explained that it doesn’t make much sense to talk about organizational structure until you first decide what goals and objectives you are trying to meet and what strategies you intend to implement. In fact, once you do this, the structure nearly builds itself.  Why you ask? Because form (structure) follows function (strategies and objectives).

While there certainly are a number of different organizational structures you can utilize to help you effectively implement your strategies and achieve your goals, the reality is that your ability to assess which structures are likely to work best require you to know what you are trying to do.

Organizing around the work is a critical element to your success and while this can be difficult when you have staff who might bristle at new reporting structures, it is imperative that you structure your team to eliminate duplication, create clear responsibilities, ensuring unity of command, while at the same time freeing your team members to do their best work.  Here are three inital questions that can help you get started:

  1. Does each person on the team know how what they do relates to the work of others on the team?
  2. Are reporting structures clear and are goals and objectives effectively established for each role?
  3. Does our current organization structure create conflicting objectives or smooth the process of completing the work?

Structuring your organization for success is a challenge.  Continue to communicate the importance of aligning the organization with your goals and strategies.

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