Ten Considerations Before Redesigning an Organization

Best Practice / Change and Organization

Ten Considerations Before Redesigning an Organization
RD Bertsch, MSM , Consultant, United States

Best practices for redesigning an organization.

How do leadership and executives realize that the time has come to make design changes to the organization? There are many answers to this question. For example, it may be because sufficient communication on decisions is not reaching appropriate parties quick enough to result in timely actions; too much time is wasted on clarifying tasks and priorities and thereby deterring production; performance is declining; or competition is getting stronger. Regardless of the issues, leadership and executives should refrain from assuming that a redesign will solve the problems. Simply redesigning an organization does not automatically translate into business sustainability and competitive advantage. Important considerations and evaluation factors in redesigning an organization are vision, mission, business strategy, culture, behavior, human resources, financial resources, technological factors, and work design.
Key points to keep in mind:
• Focus
• People
• Involvement and communication
Emphasis on focus must be on strategic business initiatives with clear outcomes that are in alignment with the company’s vision and mission along with the processes, recruitment of appropriate talent, development of dynamic teams, and effective performance management systems that will yield the desired results. Furthermore, the selection of an appropriate design is also important. What is a good design for one company is not necessarily the answer for another. One size does not fit all. Simply redesigning an organization without prior considerations of workflow processes, role definitions, and performance metrics will not only result in design failure but can be costly in terms of revenue and other resources. Failed redesign or change initiatives cause skepticism and increase resistance in people for any future change efforts.
Traditional designs have stringent controls that result in ambiguity, confusion, conflicts, lack of accountability, lack of collaboration, ultra-complexities in daily operations, undue stress, and unclear roles. Newer organizational designs complement knowledge sharing, innovation, team performance, decision-making, and problem solving attributes of the employees. Empowerment and ability to innovate stem from giving employees a feeling of ownership and a buy-in to the company vision and strategy. Organizations leaning toward newer designs select talent that creates value for organization, which in turn creates value for the employees. However, the redesign should have proper metrics for short-term and long-term expectations that are readily and easily measurable.
As with all major ventures, there are risk factors involved in redesigning an organization. Assessing those risks are just as vital as creating a value sustainable organization. Some risks involved in implementing a new design include unclear identification of job definitions or job roles and improper selection of the right talent for the job. Conflicts, poor performance, stress, and disengagement arise from unclear roles, and accountability falls to the wayside. Again, it is bout aligning processes and people with strategy and structure to achieve the desired results.
Communication is a major element in ensuring successful change initiatives but often gets less attention in the big scheme of things. Leadership and executives must take strong initiatives in maintaining interactive communication to assess the type of redesign that will be most effective. Resistance is high and buy-in is low when people are forced into making changes that they do not fully understand or the impacts those changes will have on their current role-definitions. There is plenty of research that emphasizes the importance of communication and collaboration, which is necessary for successful and rapid responses to changing and challenging environments.
Strategic planning for a redesign must include mitigating factors to lessen the risks. Managing risks becomes easier when the short and long-term expectations are monitored carefully for any fine-tuning and behavioral adjustments. Finally, the revaluation of the new design on a continuous basis will provide information that can be used to modify the design according to changing environments or challenges rather than reinventing the wheel with another redesign. The ultimate redesign should be such that it fully supports the organizational structure, processes, and people for optimal performance and delivery of the expected outcomes.
Ten considerations in redesigning an organization
• Examine the business strategy for expected outcomes
• Evaluate the need for redesign
• Select the appropriate design
• Assess risks
• Select the right talent for the job
• Communicate
• Involve people in making design change decisions
• Set measurable long and short term goals
• Manage risks
• Reevaluate effectiveness of redesign

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