It’s not (just) the org chart

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I’ve been talking to clients about redesigning their organisations. I start by asking them what they want to achieve and how they want to get it done. The organisation design is a reflection of that. That’s the theory, anyway.

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But the thinking often starts by drawing the org chart. Why does that happen? Perhaps because it feels simpler and faster. The org chart is visible, it’s static, and it’s easy to understand, so it’s simpler. It’s the “end product”, so going there directly feels like it’s bringing everything together and going faster. And once everyone knows their place in the org chart, it’s obvious what they are going to do.

Is it, though? How do you check if you have the right organisation in place? It’s not (just) the org chart. It’s the processes and interactions that determine what gets done. Which means making a process map – not coincidentally one of the core tools used in Lean, and an essential input to business automation. That’s a bit harder because it’s less simple and it feels like more work. But it does help you design the right org chart and processes to achieve your vision.

So bring together your vision for the “what” and your process model for the “how”. Then you can draw the org chart that matches it.

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