How To Redesign Your Organisation Successfully

by Rosie McMahon
in Tips, Organisational design
2 Jun 2016  |  0 Comments

Starting an organisation design project is sometimes daunting.  How will you know that the work effort and investment will result in the outcome you are after (usually an improvement in overall organisational performance or health)? To some extent you don’t, but by following some pretty basic steps, you can increase the likelihood of success.

First, there are three foundational pieces that are critical. While this sounds simple, many people within organisations continue to embark on huge projects without these in place.

 Appoint a project sponsor

Make sure you have a senior project sponsor.  Someone who is prepared to actively and visibly champion the project, remove obstacles and make key decisions when required. This person needs to have influence, be across the project but not get involved in the detail and they need to see the project as important to the business.  

 Use project management methodology

Set the project up as a formal project. Use good governance mechanisms and effective tools and procedures to manage timeframes, budgets, resources, risks and quality. The importance of good project management can’t be emphasised enough.  

Develop a change management strategy

Just as important as project management, is good change management. They go hand in hand. Hire or contract change management skills to help with the people side of change; all change involves people, so not doing this is a bit like asking someone to use a new piece of technology but not providing the technology for them to learn on… it just doesn’t make sense.   

 Once you have your foundation pieces in place, you need to work on the process you will go through to carry out the design work. Once again, there are some practical elements to doing this effectively.

  • Identify the drivers for the organisation redesign, for example, a shift in the market, a downturn in the economy or the organisation’s performance? Once you have identified the drivers, develop an ‘opportunity statement’, a response that turns the issue into an opportunity and imagine what the future would look like if that opportunity was realised. How is it different from what the organisation looks like now? 
  • Determine future requirements – this is an opportunity to identify in some detail what you need to realise the opportunity whether it is building people capability or bringing in new technology to enable quicker response times to customers or creating a different culture. It also means working out whether your organisation is structured effectively to deliver this new opportunity… are your current work functions the ones that will deliver future outcomes (remember, there used to be no such thing as an ‘app’ developer). 
  • Design the new organisation – far from rewriting the org chart, this work is about identifying all of the elements of the new organisation (the culture, leadership, systems and processes, work activity, employee motivations, structure, and so on) and looking at how they interact with each other and testing and validating scenarios that currently challenge the organisation – is there another, better way of doing things?    
  • Develop the implementation plan – often organisations do the design and then fail to consider the workforce transition elements – how to move people from one way of working to another, or how to ensure people have the skills to do the new job, or how to manage the loss of staff and keep delivering business as usual to customers. The plan should be comprehensive and consider contingencies
  • Implement the plan – making sure that there is a clear communication and stakeholder management plan, opportunities for review and evaluation and most of all, the room to make mistakes and keep trying to make it work. To expect perfection on the first go is naïve.
  • Reinforce and evaluate – continue to monitor the change, change what needs to be changed to adjust to the new way and burn bridges so that you can’t return to the old ways… remember, the old ways created the opportunity for a fresh new way!

If you would like to know how People Tactics can help you to redesign and transform your organisational performance, please contact us at

Author: Rosie McMahon

Web: /rosie-mcmahon/

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