Are You Building a House, a Cottage, or a Loft?
Simply put, structure matters. Depending on what you are building, whether it’s a large, colonial home or a summer beach cottage, you will develop a different blueprint. And it is no different for your company.
Your strategic vision and organizational goals should dictate the structure that is best suited to support the execution and the realization of that vision. Yet it’s interesting how often business leaders are resistant to changing their organizational structures. Why? Perhaps they hesitate because team members enjoy certain titles and spans of control that they would rather not relinquish. Managers are overwhelmed at the thought of having to change hierarchy or compel employees to work under others they would rather not work for. The excuses never end.
Your organizational structure is the foundation – the cornerstone – of your organization. It is what supports the living and breathing organism that is your business. You must pay attention to how the foundation gets laid, where that cornerstone is placed. But as your organization grows – and the market conditions change – structural changes will be necessary depending on what you are building and where you are destined.
Even the soundest of homes built on the strongest of foundations still occasionally need a remodel. When you build a home, you know that eventually you’ll have to make changes, whether you replace the furniture, upgrade your appliances, or knock out a wall. And as with a home, you have to know that your organizational structure needs to be upgraded, reinforced, and remodeled to support the changing business environment. If your structure isn’t capable of changing, the house will fall apart.
Choose a Structure that Fits Your Future
Many leaders are so used to having hierarchal, departmental structures, that they can’t see past the organizational style to create the structure necessary to support the organization’s goals. Yes, you need people to be held accountable for playing certain roles in your company structure, but you also need to be able to be fluid enough and adaptable enough to support the outcome you’re trying to achieve. This often means dismantling the existing structure and reformulating the workflow, the people, and even leadership, to achieve your vision.
Create Your Blueprint
This isn’t about tearing down cubicle walls or creating non-linear organizational structures. It has nothing to do with how and where your teams are working. To obtain the structure you need to support what you are trying to achieve, you need to:
- Communicate clearly to everyone in the organization your goals
- Empower everyone to make decisions related to achieving those goals
- Create an open and collaborative environment that removes barriers from innovation and prevents duplications of effort
- Embrace change and recognize that just because it’s “always been that way” doesn’t mean it has to stay that way
Clearly communicated goals and cohesively designed teams lead to greater buy-in of company goals, more progress toward achieving the goals, and the ability to change directions quickly when things change and you have to react. Know what you’re building.
As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.