Last week we welcomed colleagues, clients and friends to our latest Mayvin Community event: ‘Organisation Design – people matter!’ We inquired together about how to push the boundaries of Organisation Design to make it a truly people change experience.
We all shared our thinking about Organisation Design in response to the following questions:
What are the main challenges you’re facing in your organisation now?
There was a sense in the room that everyone is experiencing similar challenges at the moment: with changes in government, financial constraints and the impact of Brexit, we’re all finding that we’re expected to adapt to an ever-changing environment.
At Mayvin, we’re noticing that social and economic shifts are demanding transformation in organisations across every sector and that was apparent from what we heard from our colleagues and clients. Although the tipping point for change may vary, the implication is often the need to revisit how an organisation is designed.
What are your experiences of Organisation Design interventions?
It wasn’t a surprise to find that everyone in the room had a story about a restructure or transformation process. When we shared our experiences it was clear that, even where there are promises of predictable outcomes, the process can take unexpected twists and turns.
Far from being simply a case of ‘moving deckchairs around and calling it organisation design’, the human complexity of change in organisations means that Organisation Design is never a linear process in practice.
This messy reality of people change and transformation means that an Organisation Design process needs to respond both to the organisation’s political realities and to its external environment in order for real transformation to happen.
And yet, the stories we heard suggested that it can be difficult to get ‘people’ on the agenda. There’s often a focus purely on the formal structures, with organisations holding the view that ‘we can think about culture once we’ve rolled out the new design’. Yet in our view, if the culture part of transformation happens as an afterthought, it’s unlikely the design process will ever reach its full potential.
How could Organisation Design be better? Specifically and in practice?
We shared our thoughts on how we could challenge the status quo of organisation design practices, and help create real transformation in our organisations. Suggestions included:
- Don’t dive straight into a restructure. Press pause: is an Organisation Design process the right intervention?
- Get clarity on what the strategy, intentions and expectations are, and communicate this clearly too and give people permission to challenge the purpose.
- Be authentic in communications: invite feedback, questions, frustrations and give clear information and regular updates. If there is a lack of information, people will fill in the blanks themselves
- Recognise the different levels of change: for the organisation, team and individual
- Maintain relationships through the process, rather than just trying to repair them afterwards
- Accept the chaos and mess, but provide certainty where you can
- Reflect on achievements as well as challenges
- Keep focused on the wider context and perspectives
- Help leaders be brave, honest and enable them to ask for help too
- Gather ideas from the system: make use of the intelligence at all levels of the organisation
Want to find out more? We’ve created a free Organisation Design resource for you to download.
You can email us for some quick, free advice or you can call 01273 696446. We’d love to hear from you.
About Mayvin Community Events
The participative spirit of these events is critical to the community building that Mayvin aims to foster. Refreshments are provided, which helps! People report that what impresses them most about these events is the interesting people you meet at them.
To hear about future Mayvin events, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on +44 (0)1273 696446 or sign up to our mailing list via the website form.