How do we structure our organization for business change?
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” ~ Charles Darwin
This quote says it all. The business world is constantly changing. What works today may not work tomorrow. There are new trends occurring every day. Business leaders have to be able to adapt quickly, which begs the question … how adaptable are you and your organization?
In order to structure an organization for change, business leaders need to think and act differently … need to manage differently … and need to compete differently.
Every organization has “black spaces” and “white spaces” within their structure. “Black spaces” refer to those functional areas the organization has formally defined such as the departments and functions of the organization, as well as the people to staff them … in other words, the boxes on your organizational chart. Most organizations manage their “black spaces” or manage vertically effectively.
“White spaces” refer to those areas where the functional or departmental ‘hand-offs’ take place. Hand-offs typically are not formally defined and in most cases are unclear. There usually isn’t any one person with authority over them. However, it’s in these “white spaces” where innovation, creativity, and out of the box thinking can occur.
Organizations that manage and maximize both the “black and white spaces” often find they have the resources and are able to adapt to change much more quickly. Why? Well, in lieu of managing just the vertical silos, managing horizontally allows organizations to create cross-functional teams. Cross-functional teams are better equipped to better assess, change, and adapt because the team is comprised of individuals from multiple departments or functions which by their collective knowledge and cooperation leads to less re-work, waste, and/or scrap, shortened lead times, improvement in quality, increased innovation, and more solid customer relationships.
What would less re-work, waste, and/or scrap, shortened lead times, improved quality, increased innovation, and more solid customer relationships mean to your organization?