Shake It Up…

Disrupting the Org Chart

During a recent conversation with the leaders of a company, we asked them to imagine that their department was not a part of the overall company, but a stand-alone business having to provide value to its customers and make money to continue. Then we asked the question, “How would you organize the company related to positions, roles, and responsibilities? And how would you measure effectiveness?” This is what we call disrupting the org chart.

Some leaders had to be reminded that every minute someone is working costs money. They then considered how to measure productivity in areas that are service related. They recognized that their employees tend to come to work and most are busy. But they’re not necessarily busy with things that are high payoff or things that move the needle related to value and time. They came in to do their job.

They also recognized that they were not asking their (internal) customers what was needed from them as a department. They simply were doing their job and finding ways to make their job easier; not really considering how it affected others. There was no system in place to continually assess needs and effectiveness as things changed for their customers.

Another “Ah-Ha!” moment for these leaders involved the efficiency (or lack of) related to the job descriptions and each position’s responsibilities. They recognized that there are tasks that are always done without consideration of automation, technology, or simply process redesign that could increase production. When they looked at the department as if they were starting it as a business, they found ways to redesign roles and responsibilities. And in some cases, this reduced the number of employees required.

Disrupting the org chart is also a great time to move people to different areas of the building or even to a different work space. The change causes people to think differently and interact with different people. Different interactions increase diversity in conversations, problem-solving, and other relationships.

Waiting until your business is struggling is way late to work on the organizational health. Healthy organizations make it part of their fabric to constantly find ways to improve and provide value. When those of us working in the business don’t work on the business, we can find that we haven’t been paying attention to where we’re supposed to be going. We may be moving…but it may not be in the healthiest direction for our business. It’s time to be healthy.


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