Additional resources: Management Kits blog posts on organization design
Get more valuable insights on the Management Kits Blog:
On organizational structure and design
- When is an organizational structure flat? Flattening organizational structures is seen as a means to increase organizational agility, support decentral decision making and reduce micromanagement. To define flat organizational structures, we discuss three practical examples and the key advantages and disadvantages associated with flat organizations.
- How to build strong matrix organizational structures: Matrix organizational structures are powerful mechanisms for aligning an organization along two key management dimensions. However, they are often a source of confusion and organizational friction. Through our experience, we’ve discovered that there’s one organization design feature that goes a long way to making the matrix truly work.
- Centralized or decentralized, that is the question. Balancing centralization and decentralization is often one of the key issues in the design of organizational structures. A number of lead questions can help you start the conversation about what should be done centrally and which activities, deliverables and decisions should be allocated to decentral units.
- Three powerful and complementary approaches to boosting cross-silo collaboration: Structural links, collaborative management practices and shared objectives are three approaches to empower work across silos. Without the other two, we argue, each one of them has a hard time succeeding on its own.
- When writing a job description, consider three things: Writing new job descriptions is a common task in many organization design projects. Once strategies, organizational structures, and processes change, new jobs emerge or an old job acquires a new focus.
- How to run an organizational capabilities assessment: Based on past organizational design work, we introduce a simple three step approach to define, assess, and start building strategic organizational capabilities.
- Organizational effectiveness is a function of simplicity. Simplicity in organizational design means that organizational members have a good, functional understanding of how the organization works.
- Can design thinking promote organizational responsiveness? Enhancing the tool box of organizational design in view of new forms of organizing
- Functional specialization in organization design is great until it isn’t
How to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of unit structuring options
- When initiating your organization design work, define its scope as clearly as possible
Get the design challenge right: understand limits, must-haves, and interfaces
- Why (and how) to use principles to guide your organization design work
Give your strategy and organization design work practical guardrails
- A canvas for organizing: 6 key elements that define an organizational structure
A "quick and dirty" introduction to the Organizational Structure Kit framework
- How to best run an organizational design project
Some practical key insights on running your org design project.
- Organizational Design Thinking
An introduction to the concept of "Organizational Design Thinking"
- How to align project set-ups and organizational structure
Balancing projects in your given org structure
- The challenges of lateral self-governance – a review of Holacracy
Learn more about "lateral organizing"
- Why we are obsessed with organizational charts (and what to do about it)
5 questions to consider before jumping to "org charting"
- Organizational silos are a good thing (except when they aren’t)
How to handle organizational silos? Are they always bad?
- Dealing with organizational high nobility
What to do about organizational "upper classes"
On organization development
- Organizational structure, design, and development: how they’re different, how they’re related, and why it matters: In this blog post we discuss and define the terms organizational structure, organizational design, and organizational development, and how they relate to each other. While partly overlapping, each of those terms stands for a unique perspective on organizing, in the sense of working together at scale in order to achieve a shared set of goals.
- What role will Organization Development departments play in the future? With fundamental changes to how we work and organize under way, Organization Development (OD) practitioners are in high demand by senior management and business partners. Based on our extensive work in the field, we see four key imperatives for OD leaders to shape their function and live up to its promise building effective and sustainable organizations.
- New organization models integrate the Organization Development function into teams: One key feature of several new forms of organizing that have emerged over the last few years – such as Holacracy or varieties of agile organizing, like tribes and squads – is a new relevance of the Organization Development (OD) function.
- Develop your leaders and your organization: Organizational development (OD) and leadership development (LD) are mostly discussed as different disciplines that have distinct sets of frameworks, tools, and practices. Understanding their relationship and commonalities can inform approaches to aligning or even integrating OD and LD when managers, consultants, and business partners work to boost organizational performance.
On organizational change
- Organizational change must start in the design phase: Successful organizational change management strategies integrate change steps with design efforts to define a new structure early on in the process.
- Two patterns of change: How can you set up management structures that are able to adapt to, or even anticipate, sudden, massive changes in the organizational environment? Jack Welch summarized this challenge nicely when he said that “when the rate of change inside an institution becomes slower than the rate of change outside, the end is in sight”.
- Three must-dos for reorganization: Any significant reorganization process will involve changes to a company’s organizational structure. Here’s how to do it using three key drivers.
- Two schools of organizational culture - and one is right. Do you believe organizational culture results from mindsets or from behaviors? The implications are fundamental and we strongly recommend one over the other.
Deep dives on perfomance, cost and operational excellence
- Operational excellence and continuous improvement require the right organizational structure: Starting an operational excellence initiative and identifying opportunities for faster, standardized, quality-assuring and cost-efficient operations in your organization is only a first step. The companies that are the best at achieving operational excellence (OE) sustain the results of their initiatives and also start a routine of continuous improvement by embedding operational excellence into their organizational structures.
- Defining a manageable span of control: three key questions: Three key considerations can help leaders think through the span of control within their organizational structures.
- Three essential steps of any cost reduction strategy: Cost cutting strategies must not be limited to analyzing and adding up the potential effects of cost saving ideas. Instead, leaders, cost reduction consultants, and expense reduction analysts have to think through and execute three essential process steps in order to achieve cost cutting success.
- How to get rightsizing right: Five key imperatives: Rightsizing, in contrast to downsizing, takes a proactive, long-term view of a company’s cost position. This blog post discusses five imperatives to consider when embarking on a rightsizing initiative.
- How to reduce overhead costs: Reviewing your organizational structure frequently shows two important levers that can reduce your overhead costs.
- Should you delayer your organization? Delayering is potentially one of the strongest measures to reduce administrative overhead costs in your organizational structure. As an additional advantage, delayering often helps organizations to make faster decisions and become more effective overall. A number of key criteria can help you to determine whether you should review and adapt your spans and layers.
On specific organizational functions
- On strategy design - How to set up and drive a strategy planning process in your organization: Observing the difference between strategic analysis and strategy design, strategy development work should start with "what if", not with "what is". Plus, what else to observe in defining the strategy planning process.
- On data analytics - How to build data analytics capabilities into your organization: Getting the data analytics organization right is about building a dedicated function into the organization and making it effective at its interfaces.