leadership & management

Death by Reorganization

Clark Quinn wrote something back in November about the epidemic of continual reorganizations and what might be behind it:

Really, if an organization is restructuring regularly, it’s probably a sign that it’s trying to adapt structurally to an environment that is increasingly chaotic.  And that approach just isn’t going to work anymore. Organizations have to become more flexible than rigid structures can accommodate, and more flexible management approaches are needed.

Adapting structurally to an environment that is increasingly chaotic = solving the problems using the same thinking that got us into them. Doing the same thing but expecting different results. Einstein is shaking his head at us!

I loved the analogy of how reorganizations are similar to surgery, from the Death By Reorganization article that Clark linked to:

It is important that their purposes be carefully assessed and a thoughtful judgement reached that the wielding of the surgical knife is going to achieve a purpose that, after a period of recuperation, will be worth the trauma inflicted. And the surgical knife should not be wielded again and again before the healing process from earlier incisions has been completed.

A healthy organization won’t come from plastic surgery or from a magic pill. Instead, we need the equivalent of a lifestyle change inside companies. If more leaders saw their organizations as living beings I doubt we would have so many causes of death listed as restructures and outdated management practices. Let’s stop moving boxes around the org chart and learn how to work smarter. (My copy is on the way. Is yours?)

Imagine your company as a living being. How might you treat it differently? How would you help it be healthy?

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