Structure Plan, Part 1

In the book, Bare Bones Change Management: What you shouldn’t not do, Bob Lewis explained the seven must-have elements for any change management effort to have a chance of succeeding. Here are my takeaways from one of the topics discussed in the book.

In the book, Bob described the structure as the configuration of the organization that is required to support the change. “Structure is how the organization is put together.”

Most organizations have a stabilized structure that can be very hard to change because it took a long time for that structure to converged and adjusted to its current form.

Without accounting for the changes to the structure and making a plan to achieve the needed structure, most planned changes will slide off the organization as if it were Teflon coated.

An organization’s structure includes the following elements:

How to organize: It is the dreaded organizational chart and needs to be consistent with the change we are trying to make. It starts with a clear organizing strategy supported by the specific reporting relationships.

Facilities: This is the physical nature of the workplace and environment.

Governance: This defines how the organization makes decisions – both the official process and the informal ones.

Accounting: A properly structured accounting system is necessary. Without an accounting system that tracks financial measurements properly, it can entirely block a change.

Compensation: This defines what behaviors, attitudes, skills, and intangibles the company values; what is often called “incentives.”

Over time, organizational structure ensures the organization as a whole will tend to remain in a stable configuration, whether or not that stability is appropriate to changing circumstances or not.

That means we need to figure out which elements of the organizational structure have to be modified, and in what ways, so they reinforce the change we are trying to make.