Organizational Structure: A Living Dog is Better than a Dead Lion

A coaching client said, “We need to adapt our organizational structure every two years.”

Organizational structure adapts because:

  1. Customers change.
  2. Products evolve.
  3. Business expands or shrinks.
  4. Complexity surges.
  5. Regulations shift.
  6. New talent takes leadership.
  7. Technology improves.

Dead structure means people waste energy stumbling over trivialities.

Dynamic organizations create living structures.

Organizational structure: A living dog is better than a dead lion. Image of a curious Jack Russel.

Dynamic structure:

Effective structure enables people to flourish and contribute. Useful structure enables conversations about vision, goals, and tasks. Is your organizational structure closed and cumbersome?

Beneficial structure facilitates decision-making. How many people need to sign off before someone buys a pencil?

Positive structures promote collaboration. Cross-functional communication enables people to pool their skills and perspectives and maximize resources. How well do teams work together for the common good?

Positive structure provides channels for growth, accountability, and performance. Is high performance rare or normal?

Questions have direction. Questions that work have the right destination. Image of handmade direction signs.

10 questions for building dynamic organizational structure:

  1. How can we responsibly foster freedom with constraint?
  2. What could we simplify?
  3. How could we eliminate layers?
  4. How could we push decisions to the lowest level?
  5. What makes high performance likely from a structural perspective? What hinders it?
  6. How does organizational structure reflect our beliefs and goals?
  7. What is the best ratio between collaboration and control?
  8. What makes us believe our structure enables people to flourish?
  9. What is essential to protect?
  10. What kinds of conversations does our structure promote?

What questions enable leaders to build dynamic structures for their businesses?

Still curious:

How to Build Environments Where Teams Thrive and Talent Wins

7 Types of Organizational Structures

John David Mann and I invite you to pre-order our new book, The Vagrant: The Inner Journey of Leadership.