Chapter 29Where Are Your Walls? (Organisation Design)

The last thing you need is a new structure – and I mean that quite literally.

Organisation Design is far more than deciding who reports to whom, yet when businesses launch into reorganisation mode, the majority of executives head straight for the white board and start drawing up new org charts. At first glance this approach may appear to be decisive and action-oriented, but it is almost guaranteed to fail.

If a company is looking for sustainable change, for an organisation structure that will not only deliver short-term results but also stand the test of time, the approach to organisation design must be thorough and inclusive. It must also start with the strategy; clearly articulating what the organisation is being designed to achieve.

Organisation Design is strategic planning to ensure the organisation is able to deliver its short-, medium- and long-term objectives.

Organisation Design is much more than working out reporting lines. In fact, ‘structure’ is Step 6 in the process I recommend you follow – shown in the following diagram. (A larger version of this figure is shown in Chapter 35 and a colour version may be downloaded from

The Organisation Design methodology outlined in the figure has been used, re-used and repeatedly refined by many dozens of consultants over the last 20 years. It has been used to guide organisation design efforts within such companies as Virgin Media, Misys, Sesame, ...

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