If we look at organizations and superimpose a human on to it, the organization chart/structure is like our skeleton, processes and systems like our muscles and culture like our brains.
The organization structure merely gives representational shape such that when we look at an organization chart, we can roughly figure out who does what. But the structure on its own gets nothing done.
Processes is what gives life to an organization. Work gets done by people in accordance to processes. Two structures that are exactly the same but with different processes will produce different results. In human form, two skeletons may be exactly the same but if one is left handed and the other right handed, each would have muscles that are developed slightly differently.
Finally we have culture. Culture is like our brains. Culture is what, controls, guides and dictates the way people behave. Two organizations with the exact same structure, same process but different culture will produce very different results.
When it comes to re-organization, management, and often times consultants, lead management to believe that the solution to their problems is in the redesign of the organization. So after many dollars are spent and new boxes are drawn, nothing else happens.
Well if all we do is draw boxes but don’t change processes – whats the point? In fact we may end up with more conflict and confusion.
And if the people sitting in the new boxes bring in their old mindsets, then the restructure is all for nothing, because people will continue to do what they have been doing. As the saying goes, “if you keep on doing what you have been doing, you will keep on getting what you have been getting.” To expect a different result is the definition of insanity.
Therefore, the true starting point of any reorganization is in the minds of the leadership team. They must buy into the new structure, roles and accountabilities and embrace new ways of working. Once the leadership team has new thinking in their minds, then go after the processes which define the inter-accountabilites between each role, and finally express the changes in terms of a structure.
Once the mind decides it wants something, it is very difficult to stop it from getting what it wants…… but for as long as the mind hasn’t decided, nothing will move.