Many executives see mapping out the structure of their organisation as a simple task, involving little more than putting a few boxes and lines on a piece of paper. They don’t realise that there is a science that should influence how an organisation is structured.
Understanding and applying the principles behind organisational design will allow you to see who are your organisation’s achievers, fighters and supporters and who is holding it back. This information could help to direct the planning of a new, more effective organisational structure.
Here are some of the key points to bear in mind when assessing and rethinking the structure of your organisation:
1) Accountability and authority
It’s important for leaders to define their delegation of authority.
It’s also crucial to clarify the right person within the organisation to be accountable for each task and process step. With clear accountabilities, each person is better empowered to get the job done.
2) Specialisation rather than generalisation
Over time, it’s natural that people take on additional responsibilities that were not included in their original job description. However if your organisation is mainly composed of generalists, rather than specialists, your overall performance is likely to suffer.
Defining roles and responsibilities more clearly will enable people to focus more on their key responsibilities, ultimately leading to higher quality output, achieved more quickly and at lower cost.
Applying a RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted, informed) matrix will help to define who is responsible and accountable for each activity as well as who should be consulted and informed at each step.
3) Boundaries and spans of control
If boundaries are unclear this can lead to wasteful allocation of manpower resources, inefficient processes and increased operational costs.
For example in a recent project we discovered that the client had 14 levels of roles. However these were split by pay grade, which didn’t necessarily correlate with levels of responsibility or experience. The end result was that the organisation paid over the odds for a large proportion of its staff while levels of supervision were inadequate, leading to inefficiency.
Taking a scientific approach will enable you to design a new structure for your organisation that actually works, providing a solid foundation for its future success.
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