By Chally Kacelnik
Have you ever struggled to explain what your organisation does in a way that’s clear to someone outside the organisation? Have you ever had a colleague refuse a reasonable task simply because they didn’t want to do it and knew no one would push the issue? Have you ever struggled when a great worker has left your organisation, because it had never been clear exactly how many things they managed?
These may seem like quite disparate issues. However, they’re all symptomatic of an organisation in which role and structural design do not flow from an overarching strategy based on an understanding of customer demand.
Customer demand is about what your customers require from you in terms of goods and services and how they’d like that requirement met. You can undertake a demand analysis to determine the who, what, when, where, why, and how of customer demand. The purpose of this is to help the organisation understand where its resources are best allocated in order to meet this demand within the frame of the organisation’s objectives.
This analysis enables organisations to build their structures based on an understanding of what work needs to be done now and in the future, not on who is currently in the roles and historical preferences or practices. To do this properly, there needs to be an encompassing identification of the work and volume of work across the organisation.
Intentional structure design enables clear lines of sight from the CEO or equivalent down. This makes clear the expectations at each level and each role. This enables individuals to be held to account for the work of their role and organisational resources to be properly allocated to the activities required. Good structure design is facilitative – focused on how an organisation wishes to achieve its outcomes and sufficiently agile to allow the organisation to meet future opportunity – rather than based on “the way it’s always been” or narrow functional inputs.
In linking customer demand to your organisation’s structural and role design, you’ll be better able to serve your customers while supporting your workforce to undertake meaningful, appreciated work.