Stephen Wozniak and Steve Jobs started Apple Computer Corp. in the latter’s garage, of all places, hocking personal items to capitalize their budding company. Now, the iconic organization employs over 35,000 people worldwide. Pierre Omidyar hired his first employee for what would become eBay in 1996. The company not only weathered the dot-com bust, it enjoyed remarkable profitability under Meg Whitman’s leadership. Yet, explosive growth is often messy.
As companies mature – especially those that mature quickly – unnecessary bloat often masks as necessary expansion. Some divisions metastasize. Executive titles proliferate and generate a top-heavy (often heavy-handed) corporate culture. The structure becomes unsustainable, illogical, and inefficient. Objective intervention must reverse the existential threat to your organization.
Would you undertake a large construction project without a blueprint? Such a venture seems absurd but organizations often take this route. Consider IBM for example, which traces back to the late 1800s. Throughout its history, the company’s retrenchments indicate lack of planning, poor planning, or, less culpably, an agile responsiveness to economic turbulence. (see IBM’s History Page, especially the 1990s section)
An organizational plan is just that – a plan, not reality. How can leadership design their organization to be efficient amid unpredictable circumstances? Can your organizational structure handle explosive growth and contraction equally well? So my company has grown faster and larger than I ever dreamed, is that bad?
Certainly, you can’t go back and start your company all over; tear up the foundation and begin again. Neither would you want to risk your current success if what’s working is working well enough. Any proposed improvements need to be implemented real-time and produce immediate returns. Nor would you want to immobilize the natural, organic momentum generated from sudden success and growth. You want to take that native energy and harness it into complementary structure and organization.
Organizational redesign should work real-time to maximize your company’s efficiency and minimize bloat. Realigning your vision, mission, strategy, and structure will accommodate sustainable growth. Making this investment now will also facilitate downsizing and consolidation, if necessary.
Every company can benefit from organizational design/redesign. The Center for Organizational Design offers many integrated approaches and programs (http://www.centerod.com/designing-a-high-performance-organization.html) to help you achieve these important ends in these critical times. To receive an initial consultation about how these tools can help your organization, call 303.730.0018 or email email@example.com.