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Updated: March 20, 2023 101

101: Organizational design

It’s great to have a strategic plan. You can hash it out all you want. But without organizational design, where the administration and execution of that plan happens (the magic, essentially), your plan never comes to fruition. To be a success, according to the Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR), your organizational design has to be a good fit with your company’s strategic plan.

Change has common triggers.

These include changes in the environment, maybe new technology or a new competitor, for example. Internal or external, they all require a response. New strategy prompts an organizational design reshuffle, too. gives the example of a publishing company putting more of its content online, thus needing to set new goals for website engagement and advertising revenue. Or, a new design may be needed if your current design isn’t fit for your purpose anymore, like if recruitment is being impacted due to the fact your company hasn’t offered flexible working options.

Problems produce symptoms.

Those symptoms can likely be traced to organizational design flaws. For example, according to Ron Carucci in Harvard Business Review, the inaccessible boss complaint may be due to an excessive span of control design flaw, not necessarily a time-management issue. Money spent on time-management coaches, in this case, would be wasted.

Know HR success factors.

According to the AIHR, getting the right stakeholders with the right knowledge bases and power-making capacity into the mix is key, as is an evidence-based approach. “Use a data-informed approach that validates design assumptions throughout the process,” says Dr. Dieter Veldsman, a chief HR scientist with AIHR. With each step in an organizational design roadmap building upon one another, it’s important to avoid skipping any steps, he says, ensuring the model delivers value.

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