Your business is always changing. Your firm will move through periods of high growth
and will have to be prepared to scale. Client needs and your firm’s capabilities
change, resulting in new revenue streams with different support models. Sometimes
your business needs to improve efficiency in order to service revenue. In every
situation the individual selected to perform a function needs to have the style,
capabilities and desire to be successful in that role. This point of view discussion
shares insights and expert opinions on how to approach this process.
Does every organization have to change?
At some point, the answer is likely yes. Small organizations who become successful
need to prepare for the future. Small high growth organizations need to evolve from
the hero model to a model where the team is designed to scale more easily for growth.
Larger more mature organizations can become bloated or inefficient. Organizational
inertia makes it difficult to change, but change has to be evaluated when the
business sees new market opportunities appear, the firm experiences high growth in
existing lines of business or crisis occurs. Change can be uncomfortable, but it is
critical to your team’s success. If organizations want to achieve their strategic
objectives, they need to design their team structure accordingly.
Author Elyxor, Inc - Strategy Practice
Category Organizational Re-design
Client Software and Services (large
Ideas for an Approach
Start by confirming who you are and what you want to be.
Your team has to know who they are and where they want to arrive. Form has to follow
function when designing your new structure. When Elyxor works with client teams we use the
appropriate frameworks to capture or define the core values, strategy of the business, and
the corresponding short, medium & long term targets. Once targets are defined, those need to
inform the organizational design and strategy.
How do I think about designing the right structure?
Use frameworks to understand what functions require autonomy, creativity and flexibility
versus functions that benefit from centralization and control. Build out your functions
across this spectrum, thinking about the required services not team structure.
Frameworks help organize thinking and make the process more objective, reducing emotion. When
Elyxor helps clients, we chose the right framework to coordinate these work sessions based on
where you are in your process. Not every framework is used every time. Elyxor uses the
required tool based on the situation. Common frameworks we use are described below.
Elyxor leans on proven frameworks from industry leaders such as Porter, Osterwalder,
Wickman and others to clarify the vision, strategy and business design.
Organization design frameworks leverage concepts from Wickman, Sisney and others.
Putting your new organization into action leverages concepts from Wickman, 4DX (from
Covey, McChesney and Huling) and “Speed of Trust” from Stephen M. R. Covey.
After there is clarity to the functions, you need to define the required natural style and
capabilities for the role. If desired, Elyxor works with your team and helps you assess your
team for these positions. Then we recommend using some tools to check your designs. These
metrics may differ for small high growth firms versus large mature firms.
In mature businesses, metrics such as scope/span, revenue per associate or others may be
used to uncover pockets of inefficiency. In these situations, the goal is often how to
get managers closer to the work, accelerating pace in the organization and eliminating
In small firms this is usually not the issue, it is more about how to build the
organization to scale and changing the culture of consolidated knowledge and control
which may be causing bottlenecks.
How do I ensure I realize benefits from the new organization?
The right design is not enough. Metrics and behaviors have to change so the new organization
can function correctly in its new structure. After the organizational design is drafted,
Elyxor can work with your team to operationalize this structure. We do this by helping you
define measures to focus your new organization as well as establishing a management cadence
to advance toward your goals.
The correct organizational design is important whether the organization is big or small.
Elyxor has learned that frameworks, metrics and tools can aid in the process, but they must
also be complemented by pragmatic insights. When determining the right team for large
organizations, use the various metrics as guidelines. Use insight regarding your team to
discern when to take cost out and when to ensure core capabilities and talent must remain to
support your business as it grows. As small organizations grow, they don’t want to lose that
small team culture, but use the organizational re-design process to install better disciplines
now when the business is still small and new processes can be more easily institutionalized.
This is harder later when the growth comes.
Make sure your team has the styles, skills and desire to be successful in their new roles. A
mismatch in the person and role impairs your business and makes the individual unsuccessful
and unhappy. Be transparent about this process with your teams. Explain the intent of the
process and update them as your progress. This is uncomfortable, but critical.