Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Structure follows strategy

Change is like Brussels sprouts, you either like them or you don't, but they are good for you either way. For people who don't like change, organizational restructures are amongst the hardest kinds of change to deal with. But they are both necessary and good for organisations. This blog is an attempt to explain why.

There is an old maxim that structure follows strategy. This means that whenever you launch a new strategy, or evolve an existing one you should be considering a new organisation structure to deliver it. Whilst people are by no means machines, you should no more expect an old machine to produce a new product than you should expect an old organisation structure to deliver a new strategy.

Along a similar vein, I was once advised that, if you want something done, you should put someone in charge of doing it. So if you want a new strategy delivered, your new structure should reflect the new roles responsible for delivering its constituent parts.

So whilst organizational restructures may seem daunting to some, it is worth bearing in mind that trying to deliver a new strategy with an old structure is even more difficult, and unlikely to succeed.

If you were looking for something to make Brussels sprouts more palatable, on the other hand, I am afraid you're on your own - I can't stand them.

Related: organisation Structure is one of the 7 S-es of the McKinsey 7S Framework.

photo credit: Chris Yarzab via photopin cc